Real Estate Selling

How To: Sell Your Home This Winter

Don't despair if your house is hitting the market this winter. Purchasing a home might not be at the top of everyone's list during this time of year, but there are still people out there on the hunt. Follow these tips for a successful house sale this winter.

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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.

Set Expectations

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.

Related: 7 Snow Shoveling Lessons No One Ever Taught You

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.

Related: 12 Easy Ways to Create Curb Appeal in Winter

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.

Related: 11 Awful Real Estate Photos—And How to Make Yours Great

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.

Related: 10 Places You’re Forgetting to Winter-Proof

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

Keep the home at a steady 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit during showings. If the fireplace is safe and supervised, light a fire and offer coffee and hot chocolate to buyers.

Related: The 10 Best Winter Buys for a Happy, Healthy Home

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.

Related: 23 Brilliant Hacks to Help You Weather Winter

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.

Related: Buyers Pay More for Homes with These 12 Features

Market on Social Media

Your real estate agent will be doing the heavy lifting as far as marketing goes, but it never hurts to do a social media campaign of your own. Share your listing on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Look for local Facebook groups that revolve around local home buyers and sellers where you can post your details.

Related: 10 Decisions Homeowners Never Regret

Fast Fixes

Regardless the season you end up selling your house in, there are a few things you can do to boost its value and sell it quicker. Just a few smart home improvements can make all the difference in selling your home.