Spring may be the most popular time of year to buy and sell homes, but you actually stand to get a better offer if you list your house in the winter. Why? Because there are less homes on the market during the winter months, competition amongst buyers is greater. If you have the flexibility, listing your home during the winter can be an excellent strategy to sell your home more quickly and profitably. However, winter is not without its challenges for home sellers. These tips can help you show your home to its best advantage during the winter months.
1. Spruce up your curb appeal
Overcast winter weather can cast a gloomy first impression on your home. Counter the gloom by keeping up with landscaping maintenance, fixing any chipped paint or cracked window seals, and adding some seasonal décor like a wreath or strands of lights.
2. Create a warm indoor environment
Start by making sure your thermostat is set at a cozy temperature—you don’t want visitors shivering as they walk through your home. Staging your home with wintery accents can also help create an inviting, warm environment. Arrange a throw blanket on your living room couch and turn the fireplace on before showings. If you have a non-electric fireplace, stacking wood next to it can be a nice touch.
3. Maximize light
During the season of gloomy days and early nights, it’s easy for a home to feel dim and uninviting. Open any drapes and blinds, and make sure your windowpanes are always sparkling clean in order to let in as much bright winter sunlight as possible. (Strong, slanted beams of winter sunlight can also reveal grime that wouldn’t otherwise be noticeable.) Turn on every light in the house before a showing and avoid scheduling evening showings. Even if potential buyers don’t make a special note of it, dimly lit rooms can cast a shadow on their overall impression of the house.
4. Protect your floors
You don’t want people tracking snow and grit through your meticulously staged home. Put down mats to protect the entryway, and have a few pairs of cheap one-size-fits-all slippers on hand for buyers to wear during their tour.
5. Showcase seasonal possibilities
You want potential buyers to be able to envision the year-round benefits of your home. If your house has spaces that have particular appeal in winter—for example, an indoor exercise area or basement playroom—make sure to remove all unrelated furnishings so that the purpose of the room is clear. Have a great floor plan for entertaining? Set it up as if you were about to host a party, with a stylish table setting and floral arrangements.
6. Clear pathways of snow and ice
Don’t let potential buyers start off their visit on the wrong foot—literally. Forcing visitors to navigate a treacherous icy driveway or front path is the quickest way to turn them off before they even set foot in your home. You want your house to seem like an inviting, easy place to live, even in uncooperative winter conditions. Keeping your pathways clear will also help make your home appear well maintained, enhancing its curb appeal.
Don’t forget to follow the usual rules of showing your home: de-cluttering, de-personalizing, and keeping up with a strict cleaning regimen so that your house always looks its best. After all, you want buyers to picture themselves calling your house “home.”