Monday, January 27, 2014

Selling your home in the Winter? 10 Ways to get the best of it!

When selling your home this winter, remember there are important seasonal issues to master even if there non-existent at other times of the year. It is best to have your home presented in the best possible light at all times! Which brings us to our number 1 tip.....

1. Let those lights shine! - Winter brings short and cloudy days. The best way to combat this is to have every light on during a showing. The closet, den, bedroom, basement lights all should be on prior to the buyer viewing the home. Most buyers / agents may get frustrated trying to find the light switch in the dark and this may influence their opinion on the home. Along with this, make sure there are no burned out light bulbs. Keep plenty of bulbs on hand in case you find one that has stopped working.

2. Open all drapes, curtains, blinds and take down "blanket blinds". These are important for keeping the cold winter from seeping through your windows, but it is MORE important to have the window coverings open for lighting and so the buyer can enjoy your views!

3. Provide Convenient Parking! - Those pesky snow storms will have you outside for a 3rd time in one week working away the hardy snow from your drive and walkways. Make sure this is always done prior to any showing. If a buyer has to trudge through loads of snow or worse, gets stuck in your driveway, you better believe this will leave a bad taste in their mouth even if they like everything else. Along with this, make sure the buyer has an easy spot inside the house to remove their shoes. Some homes may have tight entrance areas, but get creative with shoe racks, rugs and etc.

4. Keep Odors under control! - In the winter your home tends to get stuffy as you hopefully rarely ever open a window. This allows odors to build up which can be a huge draw back to a buyer. Use a fragrance when needed and clean the house more often. This is especially important if animals are a part of the household.

5. Don't ignore the outdoors! - Curb appeal is still equally important in the winter. Make sure the exterior of the home is in tip top shape, decks / porch is cleared of snow, dead limbs are taken care of, the fence isn't leaning because of your large plowed snow piles and etc. While the buyer can't get a good feel of everything outside, it is also a good tip to have summer pictures laid out on the counter for all showings. "Hopefully your agent will have already recommended this or put them online!"

6. Don't Roast the Buyers! - More often than not the buyer will keep their coats on as they stroll about the house. If you are used to a higher temperature, make sure your thermostat is set at a comfortable 65-67 degrees.

7. Keep Winter Clothing under control! - One major challenge of selling a home in the winter is the overabundance of cold weather gear that must be stored. The buyer doesn't want to find the mudroom or entryway filled with heavy boots and hooks piled with winter coats. Shift coats and boots to other closets so the buyer can get a good sense of how the space feels with less clutter!

8. Encourage Daytime Showings! - Your home shows to its best advantage during daylight hours, which are scarce in the winter. Try to encourage your showings before 6 PM. There will be circumstances where this may not work, so revert to tip 1!

9. Outdoor Buildings / Sheds. - If you have an outdoor structure that will more than likely be viewed during the showing, make sure there is an easy way to get  to that structure. Shovel a path and make sure they can easily enter.

10. Light a couple candles! - In the winter season the warm glow and scent of a candle will calm the senses of any buyer. Miller Real Estate will provide you with our own Unique Candle at time of listing. Make sure to use it in a safe way!

Despite these unique challenges to selling a home in the winter, there is one big advantage! Buyers out looking in the winter months are, as a group, quite serious about buying. Sellers tend to benefit because each showing is more productive and fewer showings are needed to sell the property!
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