February 25th, 2015 2:04 PM by Cat Moe
Selling in the winter offers at least two positives – less
competition and new customers. During the winter, most people have
taken their listings off the market, but agents can help buyers who have
been forced into sudden moves, like executives with job transfers who
are looking to purchase a property quickly.
To take advantage of the season, make sure your home is properly
staged for the winter. This can help your property receive a higher
offer and get off the market sooner.
There is no question that curb appeal is one of the first things that
attract a potential buyer, but more often than not, they are forgiving
of a snow-covered property during the winter months. Most buyers
understand that snow piles up in the yard and trees stay barren during
What they will not tolerate however is the inability to get to your
open house because of bad weather. If heavy snow threatens before the
open house, you may need to provide alternative directions to visitors
or move the showing to when the weather is more favorable.
If snow covers the ground, clear a safe path from the street to the
front door. Spreading sand or salt on the walkway can improve footing.
Do not forget to also clear a pathway to any outdoor areas that you want
buyers to visit, such as a storage shed or guest house.
Be sure to ask your client to turn on the heat in all the rooms for a
warm walk-through. Before the open house begins, walk through the
property and check the warmth level in each room. If any room or area
feels chilly, buyers may assume that the home lacks adequate insulation
or has heating issues.
If the source of the cold air is a draft from a hole or a poorly
sealed window, seal any gaps to eliminate the problem. Poor air
circulation may also be an issue. You can remedy this by moving
furniture away from vents wherever the room allows.
What buyers see can affect their perception of warmth. Barren areas,
solid colors, shine and reflective surfaces reinforce a “cool” aesthetic
and are best reserved for summer staging. In the winter, ensure that
warm fabrics, rugs, pillows, curtains, bed linens and tablecloths adorn
the home for visual warmth. Layer throws and pillows on sofas and beds
so visitors can envision cozy days spent on the couch. Use richly
textured materials such as furry blankets and wooden accessories.
Bring in the promise of warmer times by putting containers filled
with winter-blooming plants in strategic locations. Place a hanging
plant near the entry, a winter bouquet on the dining room table or a
bunch of small flowers on the side tables flanking the couch.
Staging your winter listings should not take any more time, effort or
money than in the summer. Adequate preparation and a bit of attention
to detail can make the difference between marketing a cozy home that
buyers will bid on and a property that languishes on the market for
months because it seems as cold as the weather outside.