With the swift passing of the winter solstice, the day of the year with the least amount of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere, the amount of daylight will slowly start to get longer again each day. But, winter in many regions is just beginning. Often considered the slow season in real estate, sellers should take advantage of this less competitive time by thoroughly preparing their home for sale.
One of the biggest challenges when staging a home in the winter is trying to reflect a warm and cozy feeling inside despite the drop in temperatures outside. So while your competition is hibernating, apply these budget-friendly ways to get your home show-ready whether for buyers or guests.
Curbing the Snow
The first tip to get your home show-ready starts at the curb. All driveways, walkways and steps around your home should be shoveled and de-iced. This way it’s easier for visitors to access the front steps and walk up to the front door safely.
If you have a deck or patio worth featuring in the space, don’t forget to shovel those areas as well. One way to dress up the space is with a quaint seating area, maybe a fire pit or heating lamps, a few pillows and furry throws to create an entertaining outdoors. Despite the cold environment, buyers and guests will appreciate a place to sit back and watch the snowflakes.
Welcoming From the Front Door
Think about ways you can add a little life near the walkways and entries of the property. Use a variety of evergreens, spruces or winter berries by adding potted plants on the porch or stoop.
Try using a cheerful paint color on the front door and a decorative winter wreath to welcome visitors into the house. It’s important to provide a welcome mat too, as a place for visitors to wipe off their shoes before entering to avoid tracking snow and dirt into the space.
Put outdoor lighting on timers during the winter months, so buyers or guests don’t arrive at the house in the dark. Set the timer to go on at dusk. By lighting up the house it’s an easy solution for visitors to navigate better from the street.
Setting the Temperature
No one likes hanging out in a chilly house, so raise the temperature to 70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher in the house to keep it at a comfortable setting. This can help buyers forget about the cold weather outside and focus on the property’s features. The toasty atmosphere may also help keep buyers lingering in the home longer, providing enough time for them to fall in love with the space.
Organizing Outdoor Gear
Bundling up is a must to brave winter weather, but what do you do with all those extra coats, scarves and boots entering the home? Have a few hooks or extra hangers in the front closet for guests or buyers who want to take off their jackets while touring the space. In fact, you should encourage buyers to take off their outdoor gear – they’ll linger longer in the home and feel a bit more comfortable while walking through it.
Shoes or no shoes? That’s the question when selling your home. There are really two ways to keep the outdoor elements from being dragged in and around the house: make space for shoes to come off or provide shoe covers.
If you go with the former, designate a place for people to sit near the entryway to remove their shoes – a simple way to do this is to use a long bench with boot trays underneath.
The better option would be to purchase shoe covers for buyers to put over their shoes to keep snow and dirt from coming off the bottom of their shoes onto the floor.
At an open house, make sure to note your preference on a visible sign for buyers to read – this way you or your agent won’t have to take time out of discussing the house to explain your request to buyers.
Lighting Up the Room
Light is important during the dreary winter months. Keep windows clean on the exterior and interior. Open drapes and shades to maximize the amount of natural light entering the room. Try using light-colored, textured curtains, like off-white velvet to frame the windows. During a showing, make sure all the lights in the home are on regardless of if it’s day or night, as it puts each room in the best light.
Creating Cozy Nooks
Cozy spaces in a home will make anyone relaxed, so light the fireplace, maybe a few candles and add textured fabric in each room to set the scene. You can use faux fur in the space whether in a pillow, throw or rug to instantly express the feeling of warmth. Highlight a bar area or hot chocolate station. Have some coffee table books out in the living room for visitors to browse through while they’re warming up. Also, bring in a few different metallic finishes to add a few luxurious looking accessories.
Showing Off the Possibilities
If you need to sell your home in winter, but have a sunroom or amazing backyard, strategically place large photographs on an easel around your home showcasing what that particular area of the home looks like during the warmer months. Don’t forget to use images of the yard, garden, patio or deck so buyers can visualize the lifestyle they could lead living in this home, and what to expect after the thaw.