Making the Sale
Even the real estate market is susceptible to the winter blues. Once temperatures begin to dip and the holidays arrive, both home buyers and inventory drop off sharply. Yet even though the cold weather months aren't the best time to sell, sometimes circumstances demand it. If you're one of the unlucky few trying to sell your house during this time of year, take these special measures to make your listing stand out.
When you list a home in the winter, accept that there will probably be fewer potential buyers coming through to see the home, but know that the ones who do will be seriously motivated. Don’t undervalue—or underprice—your home just because it has fewer viewings.
Related: 8 Times to Accept a Lowball Offer
Shovel, Shovel, Shovel
If you’re in a snowy climate, keep all paths around the home and any outbuildings salted and shoveled, and clear off any porches, patios, and decks. If possible, keep outdoor furniture set up and clear from snow, so potential buyers can envision how they could use the space.
Don’t Neglect Landscaping
Counteract the dreary effect of gray skies and bare trees by adding some seasonal landscaping. Edge garden beds, layer on fresh mulch, blow away dead leaves, remove dead vegetation, and add seasonal pops of color around the yard and front door, such as wreaths, holly, or evergreen topiaries.
Showcase a Variety of Photography
Homes look better in spring and summer when they're surround by green grass and lush foliage, and buyers can be seduced by all that beauty. This puts winter listings at a disadvantage, so include some photos of your property at other times of year, if possible. If you do, choose photos without a date stamp in the corner. An old date on a photo could signal that your home has been on the market for a long time, which is a red flag to buyers.
Tune Up Winter Systems
Few things will end a showing faster than having a major appliance malfunction during the tour. Don't wait until the open house to find out there's something wrong with the furnace. Before you list, hire an expert to inspect (and repair as necessary) the furnace and fireplace as well as any other seasonal systems throughout the home, and tell your real estate agent so she can mention it at viewings.
Up Your Lighting Game
Since days are shorter in the winter, it’s important to keep the lights on for potential buyers even when you’re not home. Consider adding path lighting or spotlights, and set your lighting on a timer to create a homey glow for anyone dropping in or driving by.
Related: The Best Ways to Light the Backyard
Warm Up the Interior
Seal Up Drafts
A drafty home may signal to prospective home buyers that there’s something wrong with the heating and cooling systems, or that the current owners have fallen behind on repairs. Use caulk and weatherstripping where necessary to keep chills out.
Stage Your Home
If you've already moved out and your home is sitting empty, have your home staged by an expert who can create a cozy, inviting feel. If professional staging is cost-prohibitive, leave behind a few anchor pieces or borrow extra furniture from friends, and layer rugs, throws, pillows, and linens as well as an assortment of winter plants in each room to add warmth and cheer.
Your home is most likely your largest investment. Home insurance is a valuable way to protect the investment, but could you save money on your home insurance policy? Read our top tips for how to safeguard your property while saving money.