So, you’re getting ready to put your house on the market and it’s cold. Very cold. And your once very inviting curb appeal? Buried under several inches of ice and snow. Your beautiful flowers in their artfully designed gardens long since withered by Old Man Winter, your gorgeous yard unrecognizable.
What’s a home seller to do?
Selling in the dead of winter may not be what you prefer to do, but if circumstances are such you need to list in the winter, it’s okay. There are some advantages to being on the market in the winter and there are some things you can do to overcome some of the natural disadvantages.
You not only want people to see your home in a positive light, but you always want to be sure it is safe and as easy as possible for them to literally get into your home.
Be sure handrails are clean of snow and ice, too, of course.
Be sure your address or your mailbox is clearly visible and easy to read. Turn on any exterior lights that may help with visibility.
When prospective buyers and their agents step into your home, be sure to have a large mat on the floor so they don’t track snow and mud across your floors. This is for their benefit, too, as most people are very concerned about making a mess in a stranger’s home, so make it easy for them to be as neat as possible. I always like to have a bench or chairs in the foyer or near the front door where visitors can sit to remove boots or shoes – and be sure your agent provides you with a good supply of booties since most people really don’t like walking around in a stranger’s home in their stocking feet.
One of my pet peeves in the winter time is going from frigid temperatures into an overheated house. Bear in mind the buyers who come to see your house are going to be dressed for the cold, not for the heat, and after a few minutes, if your house is too warm, they are going to start feeling uncomfortable, become distracted and will be pushing to get out of the house more quickly. It’s best to keep the house comfortable, but not too warm. (I wish department stores would get this hint, too).
You’ll also want to let in as much natural light as possible, because even on a cold day, sunshine streaming through a window evokes positive feelings – and that’s what you want prospective buyers to feel, too. So, get those blinds and shades open. Where rooms tend to be darker, turn on lights.
As for your décor, a few potted plants, especially those that bloom, can add a touch of spring promise and lift spirits. If you’re so inclined to bake a fresh pie and leave it cooling on the counter, well, let’s just say I don’t think that’s a bad idea at all.
This is the time of year when your collection of cozy quilts can be put on display – fleece throws on furniture and soft, full comforters on beds send a message of comfort, too.
The positive side of going on the market in the winter? Well, you’ll have less competition than in the spring and the buyers who are donning coats, jackets, hats and gloves to brave the frigid air aren’t doing it for fun – they are doing it because they are serious, qualified buyers.
And that’s who we are all looking for when it comes to selling a house, isn’t it?