Winning Tips for Selling your Home in Winter
Winter is not usually considered the best time to sell a home, compared to spring, summer or even fall. The grass is brown, the trees are bare, the weather is rainy and cold, empty homes are damp and musty, and there is less time to show the home's best features in daylight hours.
But that doesn't mean you have to put the brakes on your home selling plans until the weather warms up. The winter does offer some unique advantages for home sellers, according to Grace Robideaux, agent with Century 21 Bessette. "Because fewer people put their homes on the market at this time, you'll have less competition from other sellers, and those people who do look at your home will typically be more motivated to purchase. That makes staging even more important during this season."
She says it may be a little more challenging to make your home look as inviting and appealing in the winter as it does in other seasons, but it will be well worth the effort. Robideaux offers the following suggestions for showing you home stand out in the best possible way:
Yard. Your grass may no longer be green, but it is still important to keep your yard looking well-kept so potential buyers can easily imagine what it will look like in the spring and summer. Rake up leaves and other debris, and trim hedges. Add some cold-weather plants to liven up drab landscaping beds and/or the doorways.
Exterior. Ensure your best possible first impression by cleaning all around the exterior of the home. Remove clutter from sidewalks, driveways and porches. Clean gutters, siding and windows. Touch up paint and if possible, give the front door a new, bright coat of pain in a warm color that pops like red, green or navy.
Lighting. With shorter days, encourage home showings during the day whenever possible. Be sure you have proper outdoor lighting to make your home appear safer and more attractive to buyers who come in the evening. Consider a series of path lights to illuminate the way to your front door, or flank the door with decorative sconces or lanterns.
Indoors, try to make the most of the light you do have. Make sure drapes, blinds and other window treatments are clean, and open them during a showing to let in as much natural light as possible. Clean all lamps and light fixtures and check all bulbs to ensure they work and are of the highest recommended wattage. Before showing the home, turn on lights throughout the house.
If you aren't living in the home, put indoor and outdoor lights on timers to make the home look more inviting to prospective buyers who are driving by.
Welcoming warmth. During the winter, when it is often cold and damp outside, your focus should be on making your home feel warm and cozy inside. Make sure you arrive early if you are not living in the house to adjust the thermostat to a warmer temperature. A fire in the fireplace is very welcoming. If you have a gas fireplace, turn it on right before the tour. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, set logs in the fireplace so you'll highlight the potential, but don't risk lighting a fire that you'll have to stay and attend to if you don't live there.
Add simple seasonal touches such as a warm throw on the sofa, flickering candles, vases of fresh winter flowers, a basket of fresh pine cones, or folding back the thick comforter on the bed. Another trick is to add a favorite warm scent, such as chocolate-chip cookies, cinnamon rolls, freshly baked bread, apple pie, etc. But be careful not to overdo it. Heavy, cloying scents might offend some, trigger allergies in others, or even worse, make potential buyers wonder what odor you are trying to cover up.
Robideaux says it goes without saying that making sure everything is clean and uncluttered is a must in any season, winter included. "Winter coats, boots, blankets, space heaters and sweaters can add extra clutter at this time of year, so make sure those are put away before any home tours."
With the right preparation, any season can be the right season to sell a home, stresses Robideaux. "Don't let cold weather stop you from putting that 'for sale' sign in the yard. With a qualified agent and the right staging strategies, you can make the sale in winter and be in your new home before spring arrives."