You’ve probably heard that the winter months are a terrible time of year to sell a home. Early in the season, people are focused on the holidays and out-of-town visitors. Later in the season the weather is dreary and properties, particularly the exteriors, don’t look their best. While all of this is true, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad time to list a home. People still need to sell and move during the winter and savvy REALTORS® are more than happy to help them do it. The following strategies will help you make the most winter listings.
Make the House Feel Welcoming, Warm & Cozy — Curb appeal can take a hit during the winter, so it’s important that the home’s interior takes center stage. Let in as much natural light as possible and supplement it by turning on lamps to brighten up any dark corners. Keep the house at a comfortable temperature — between 65 and 70 is ideal — and consider offering refreshments such as hot chocolate or hot apple cider to help guests warm up. As a bonus, they’ll make the house smell amazing!
Give the Entry Extra Attention — Just because curb appeal isn’t at its peak, doesn’t mean you get to ignore the entry. Keep the front sidewalk and walkway free of snow, slush, twigs and other debris. Make sure there’s a sturdy doormat at the front door to catch mud and water before it gets tracked inside. And on extra-gloomy days, keep the porchlight on around-the-clock to cast a warm glow.
Highlight Winter-Perfect Features — If the home has a working fireplace, woodstove, mud room or any other that features that offer cold-weather comfort and convenience, be sure to highlight them in the marketing materials and give them special attention during the showing.
Show Photos from Other Seasons — Find a way to include photos of the home’s exterior during the spring and summer when the leaves are on the trees and flowers are in bloom. Add photos to the online listing and all marketing materials. Additionally, a few framed pictures of the home placed around the interior are a subtle nod to its seasonal beauty.
Have Fun with the Holidays — If the home is on the market during the holiday season, don’t hesitate to decorate for it. Just instruct your sellers to keep holiday decorations traditional, tasteful and not too overwhelming. You want to add to the ambiance and overall look of the home, but too many decorations can be distracting and obstruct key features you’re looking to emphasize.
Turn Up the Heat — Prospective buyers of winter listings will have heating on their minds. Arm yourself with useful information to share with them such as the home’s average heating costs, how much and what type of insulation it has, and the dates of the last HVAC service, along with any upgrades that have been made.
Make the Market Work for You — There’s usually less inventory this time of year, so take advantage of that fact by highlighting everything the property has going for it, both inside and outside. Don’t forget to include information on the neighborhood, as well as services including schools, shopping, dining and entertainment. If a quick sale is your goal, be sure to price the property appropriately.
Although it can be more challenging to sell winter listings, these tips will help make it easier. With some planning and creativity, there’s no reason homes listed during the winter will spend any more time on the market than they would any other time of year.