With less daylight hours, cold weather and snowfall, selling your home in the winter creates a different experience for the buyer when viewing your property. There are advantages to selling at this time of year, with more serious buyers out there looking at homes and less competition from other sellers who tend to flood the market in the spring, winter can actually a good time to sell. But the winter weather can be tricky and makes staging — the concept of showing your house at its best — even more important.
If done right you can make your house the cozy haven that buyers will fall in love with and want to call home.
- Shoveling and ice removal: Your REALTOR® will agree that if buyers have to dodge ice patches and trudge through snow to get into the house, you lost the chance for your home to appear welcoming. First impressions count. That means keeping walkways and driveways free of the frozen stuff. Like mowing the lawn in the summer, you want to make the home look like it is always well maintained.
- Keep the home fires burning: Showing your home during the winter means creating a feeling of “homey, warm, and cozy” from the moment a buyer enters. If a showing is scheduled, adjust the thermostat to a welcoming warm temperature. Make sure it is not oppressively warm, but very comfortable for buyers. Those who come in and are not comfortable won’t stay long to look around and that feeling attaches to their thoughts about a home. If you have a gas fireplace, turning it on right before the showing for extra appeal.
- Put on relaxing music: Turning on the radio to a classical station, set at a soft, really low volume sets the stage for cozy relaxation in the home. Buyers tend to respond.
- Staging rooms with comfort items: Simple things stand out to buyers and set the mood. You want buyers to see their own family living happily in your house and to feel “at home” there. Adding little touches to rooms, like a warm throw on the sofa, or in the bedroom a beautiful thick comforter on the bed, all works to set the stage.
- Set lights to timers: Winter means less hours of daylight, but you want your home to look warm and welcoming whenever prospective buyers drive past. Use timers to make certain the home is always welcoming and easily seen even if you are not there. If your home doesn’t have timers included, use a phone or a clock to remind yourself that you need to turn the lights on for potential buyers.
- Greet potential buyers like welcomed guests: Have a plate of chocolate chip cookies waiting for your showing or offer warm cider in a thermos with mugs laid out accompanied by a small note saying, “please enjoy!”
- Protect your home: Many sellers, particularly in winter, let their REALTOR® know if they prefer buyers to remove shoes before touring the house. The request shows pride in ownership, which buyers understand and shows that you are concerned about taking good care of and protecting your home.
Finally be as flexible as possible with scheduling showings. If your REALTOR® calls and would like to show on short notice today, because a snowstorm is coming tomorrow and may cancel any activity, make the most of the opportunity and be open to allowing as many showings as possible.
photo courtesy of Wonderlane