It’s that time again. The days are getting shorter and the weather cooler. Traditionally, the real estate market can be quieter in the Winter months, but that’s not to say you can’t successfully sell your home during this time. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your open homes and inspections.
1. Have a cozy, crackling fire (or not). If you have a gas fireplace go ahead and light a fire to welcome visitors. But if your home’s wood-burning fireplace is older and leaves a smoky smell in the room, hold off. Those with allergies or smoke sensitivities can be turned off — or literally turned away when they have to go outside.
2. Keep entryways scrupulously clean. As with any time of year, a clean and clutter-free house will sell more easily (and maybe at a higher price) than one with more visible clutter. During winter it is especially important to remove mucky boots outside and keep family gear hidden in a closet, where potential buyers won’t trip over them.
3. Give each room a warm touch. A folded throw draped over the back of an armchair, a plump quilt at the foot of the bed or an area rug in warm hues are a few small additions that will make a big difference in the way a room feels to prospective buyers. Also, be sure that every light is on — even for daytime showings. Winter days can be quite dim, and your house will look its best when it’s as warmly lit as possible.
4. Show how outdoor rooms can be used even in the coldest months. If you have a covered balcony or outdoor fireplace, be sure to keep the area fully furnished. Turn on outdoor lights, build a fire in the fireplace and drape a few thick throws over your outdoor furniture.
5. Emphasize spaces that will appeal in winter. Large playrooms, indoor exercise areas, heated sheds and the like will be especially welcome in a place with a cold winter. Remove all unrelated items to make the purpose of the room clear, and be sure to have your Realtor bring it up when showing the house to potential buyers.
7. Use structural elements in the garden for winter interest. In the middle of winter, it can be hard to visualize a blooming garden. Large urns and planters, benches, rock walls and other garden structures will help buyers see the potential even in the snow.