Tips for Selling in Winter

December 22, 2011

For Sale Friday

As I discussed in my last post, Selling in Winter, you can still sell your home in winter! It’s just a different kind of market, and you can ask your REALTOR how he or she can promote it differently. This week, I’ll help you get your house ready now that your house is on the market. Just follow these tips, and you should be well on your way to a sale!

  1. Turn up the heat. Even though most of us turn down the heat during the day when we’re at work, you never know if there’s going to be a last-minute showing. If you have a mobile device that can do it remotely, then all the better! Nothing feels cozier than when you walk into a warm house on a cold day. A few plug-in air fresheners with cinnamon or fir tree scents don’t hurt either.
  2. Shovel your driveway. When potential buyers are coming to look at your property, having a clear path for their car AND to your front door makes a big first impression. If it’s already clear, buyers will feel comfortable getting in your home; if it’s icy, they’ll have a bad taste in their mouth before they even see your incredible kitchen or the beautiful ensuite.
  3. Turn on the fireplace. Nothing screams winter escape more than a fire. Gas or wood, both give people a homey feeling (even in summer, believe it or not!). You know, especially in Barrie, those cold, blistery days disappear once you sit down by the fire. It brings back childhood memories for many people, and potential buyers can picture their families sitting around the fire, reading or playing board games. Leave a few books on the coffee table to encourage them to sit down and curl up!
  4. Hang summer photos. Whether they’re of your backyard when the kids are playing in the sandbox, or just a generic “Muskoka chair” cottage painting, remind people that summer’s on its way. If you have lovely gardens in the spring and summer, put a few in frames around the house, or leave a photo album open on the dining room table to invite them to take a peek. You may be worried that potential buyers won’t see what summer at your house could be, so show them!
  5. Wash your windows. I know it sounds a bit silly since that’s normally done during Spring cleaning, but when the light shines in off the glistening snow, it can really show off your dirty windows. Take the time to make them sparkle and shine – it will make a big difference.
  6. Play Christmas music. If you know about a showing when you leave for work in the morning, leave the radio on a soft Christmas music station. Again, it gives your home that special, intangible feeling that buyers just love in winter.
  7. “Remove your shoes”. You may think a sign like this at the door is rude, however I’ll prove you wrong. It shows that you treat your house well and that you don’t normally trek your dirty, salty boots when you come home. People will appreciate the thought, especially since this may be their future home!
  8. Decorate for the holidays. Perhaps you have been told otherwise, but for buyers coming into your home it gives them the idea of how their house will look next year when they’re enjoying Christmas there. Maybe keep your Santa collection to a minimum, but having a tree up or hanging garland around the banister are pros, not cons.
  9. Highlight winter activities. If you live near a ski hill or a horseshoeing trail, leave a map on the counter! Just because people are in your home doesn’t mean they know how much it can offer year-round. Pinpoint anything that potential buyers can enjoy during the winter, and maybe leave some family photos nearby too that shows you enjoying those exact things!
  10. Let in natural light. Often in winter we want to keep that pesky snow away – out of sight, out of mind – so we keep our blinds closed. When your house is on the market, leave them open. It may feel cozy to you when you’re watching TV at night, or reading in your favourite chair, but it keeps your home dark. The same rule that applies in Spring and Summer applies here. Natural light sells. Period.

Don’t let the winter blues keep you – or potential buyers – down! Remember, you can sell your home in winter, it just takes a few adjustments and some patience. Good luck!

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About Laura

Laura Keller of Century 21 B.J. Roth Realty is a real estate agent with a business philosophy of nurturing relationships with her clients. She will walk you through the process of buying, selling, or investing step-by-step so there are no surprises at the end of your transaction.

View all posts by Laura

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