Originally published Jan 07, 2022
How To Have A Successful, Safe Home Sale In The Winter
With low housing inventory, buyers will be out looking even in the cold and snow this year. If you are considering putting your property on the market once spring hits, you might think again. It is true that when you sell a home in the spring and summer, you have nice weather, longer days, sunshine and the impending school year to motivate buyers. However, getting a jump on the time when sellers typically list and catching those buyers who have been desperate to find a home for months now may well work in your favor.
When you sell a home in the winter, there are some factors working against you, like shorter days, dreary skies, snow and freezing temps. But if you follow a few of our tips, you can find yourself under contract while others are just starting the process.
- Keep your driveway and walks clear and well lit. – curb appeal will always make the biggest impression on your potential buyer. It’s cold, there can be snow and ice around and the evenings come quickly. Ensure a safe and welcoming entry to coax those buyers out of their car and up to your front door by clearing and salting paths, keeping your outside lights on and adding solar path lighting if needed to brighten those dreary evenings.
- A little extra maintenance goes a long way. – As in any season, that first impression also means that your property is well kept. If possible, clear away any remaining fallen leaves and branches. Consider flanking your front door with winter planters. Make sure your doorbell is in working order and your door is clean and fresh looking.
- Make it cozy! – Take advantage of the winter chill to stage your home by creating a snug, comfy atmosphere. You want buyers to envision themselves in your house so consider lighting any fireplaces (including your outdoor fire pit) for scheduled appointments. (Please do so safely!) Cozy up the furniture with throw blankets and pillows…and don’t forget to place any outdoor furniture you have around that fire pit with blankets as well. BONUS TIP: Ask Your ERA Martin Associates Agent for our Staged To Sell Guide!
- Relevant & Functional – Creating a welcoming atmosphere for the current season also means making sure out-of-season items are put away. Have a coat rack and a boot mat set up by the entry door just for visitors to use.
- Lighting is a top priority – With less hours of sunlight, it is important you light every room in your house. Make sure your windows are clean and open any blinds and curtains. Put brighter bulbs in all your light fixtures and if you are away when showings are scheduled, consider putting at least one light in each room on a timer. You can also take advantage of the season’s gray days to bring in mood lighting such as flameless candles and low lit lamps to brighten dark areas.
- Crank up the heat! – This is not the time to scrimp on the temperature setting of your thermostat. Creating an inviting feeling means ensuring your buyers who are coming in from the cold warm up quickly.
- Bring out the photo album. – (No, not the baby pictures!) If you have special features such as a pool or outdoor living area that can’t be fully appreciated in this season, leave pictures out near the offering materials of these areas during the warmer months. If your gardens are lush in springtime or your lawn is pristine, show them off!
- Start spring cleaning early! – Keep your home clean and dust-free. While this is crucial in any season, it is particularly important in the winter months when buyers will spend more time inside your house. Areas that may require your additional attention in cold weather are rugs that may accumulate salt, water marks and salt stains on floors, and baseboard heaters and floor vents that gather dust.
- Clear the way! – Give as much access to garages, outbuildings and decks and patios as possible. Ensuring buyers can easily walk to and see these areas will help them to better view your entire property.
- Be flexible. – Showings may need to be rescheduled due to weather, illness, or road conditions. In addition, a buyer who is interested may want to book a second showing during better daylight hours or more favorable weather conditions. Being open to these requests will speed the selling process.
Prepare ahead of time. – Keep up with seasonal maintenance. Hopefully you already did your annual maintenance as the winter approached, but if you plan to sell now it’s even more essential that this work is done and kept up. Your Realtor can review what needs to be done in detail, but here are a few items that are most important as you prepare to list your property:
- Have the furnace and any chimneys cleaned
- Gutters should be free of debris
- Check the roof for any damage
- Seal any window or door drafts
If you follow these tips & guidelines, you are certain to have a smoother Winter selling experience. Don’t forget the most important part of any real estate transaction though – A trustworthy, hardworking REALTOR®!
Call our Salisbury location (410.749.1818) or Ocean Pines location (410.641.5000) to connect with an ERA Martin Associates real estate professional to guide you through your home sale.