Selling your home can be stressful anytime, but especially during the Winter. Temperatures can be freezing, there are less daylight hours, and that beautiful spring landscaping is replaced with browning lawn. However, although you may have fewer buyers during the Winter, the silver lining is you will also have less competition from other sellers. Since not everyone can or wants to wait to sell during the warmer months, here are a few ideas to help boost your home’s marketing appeal now.
We’ve sold many homes and have learned over the years some of the best ways to sell your home. Below are 10 tips to sell your home this winter.
Make the most of Natural Light
Your agent can help you schedule showings during daylight hours. During the middle of winter, even if someone comes by right after work it will already be dark. A good rule of thumb is to never turn down a showing. However, try to encourage buyers to come during the day, even if it is on weekends. This is when they can see your home in the best light. Before showings, make sure to turn on all lights. Also, plan ahead to clean your lamps and light fixtures. While you’re doing this, check the max wattage for your lamps and make sure the highest watt bulbs are being used to give off the most light.
Heat Things Up
Before a buyer comes to see your home, adjust the thermostat to a warmer temperature which will make your home feel cozy and welcoming. Make sure to do this before showings so the heat doesn’t kick on while buyers are there since this can be noisy. If a buyer is cold they won’t be comfortable and that will shorten the amount of time they spend in your home. If you have a gas fireplace, turn it on right before the tour of your home to set a warm and homey atmosphere. If your home has a wood burning fireplace, since leaving an unattended fire can be a safety concern, you can still dress the hearth for a fire to give buyers the idea.
Clear a Path
If a buyer can’t easily get to your home for a showing, your house is going to be hard to sell. Make sure to keep your walkways and driveways shoveled and free of ice. Aside from being a potential safety hazard, if your walks are not attended to it can give the first impression that other maintenance is being deferred as well. If you are out of town or unable to shovel regularly, consider hiring a landscaper or neighbor to help clear your walks on a regular basis.
Many sellers forget to wash the windows, especially during the winter. Make sure to wash your windows before listing your home to take advantage of as much natural light as possible and make things look clean and well maintained. Make sure to dust your blinds, curtains, and other window treatments. It’s all about first impressions.
Set Light Timers
Since schedules change you are probably not home every day exactly at dusk, set light timers to turn on your porch light and a few lamps inside. This will keep your house illuminated and welcoming if buyers drive by or stop in for a showing before you have a chance to get home.
Play up the Positives
Homes located in a community with a home owner’s association often include shoveling in the HOA fee. Or, your home may be located on a main bus route which means the city will plow and de-ice more frequently. These are all positives that are especially advantageous during the winter; make sure your agent mentions these features to potential buyers.
Inviting Winter Scents
Make sure to give your home a nice aroma. Baked goods like chocolate chip cookies are a perfect scent for winter. Make sure not to overdo it, buyers will wonder what you are trying to cover up. Don’t forget to take care of bad smells too, like smoke or pet odors. If something smells musty you should clean the house, air out the item, and then have a friend come over to make sure the smell is gone. If your carpets have several pet stains try to replace or clean them before listing your home if your budget allows.
Set the Mood
Turn on a radio before showings. Choose classical station or one that plays other soft music. Make sure the volume is turned down so the music is just background noise. This will help to set a soothing mood to keep buyers looking around longer in your home.
Help buyers envision living in your home. Try to add a few simple touches that make things more comfortable during the winter, like a warm throw on the sofa, or a comforter on the bed. Winter flowers are a nice touch, choose a poinsettia or amaryllis. Also, you may want to leave some warm cider and cookies in the kitchen for buyers to enjoy which will make your home more memorable when the buyer has seen several other houses already.
Curb Appeal Still Counts
Although your landscaping is probably covered with snow, you still need to spruce up your home’s curb appeal before selling. Since it is too cold to touch up paint, wash your home’s exterior with warm soapy water and take care of any maintenance items you may have missed during the summer. Make sure the eaves and rain gutters are in working condition and free from debris such as old leaves and icicles. After a big snowstorm, clean the snow from large branches and shrubs so they don’t hang over walkways, prune them if necessary. Keeping your home’s exterior looking great during the winter shows buyers pride of ownership.
Photo credits: Winter Sales – courtesy © Vibe Images – Fotolia.com