If you’re thinking about selling this winter don’t think that you’re behind the eight ball. Selling in the winter and around the holidays has some positive benefits that can’t be utilized during other seasons. With fewer homes naturally being on the market, your home will be getting more attention from buyers. The buyers who are looking during this time of the year are extra motivated so being on top of your selling game is even more important!

Whether we are getting a Christmas snowstorm like in years past or a nice, balmy 60-degree “heatwave”, here are eight great preparation tips that you can use to spark the eyes of potential buyers:

 1.  Boost the Curb Appeal

People may get lazy during the winter with their curb appeal. The truth is that your curb appeal is just as important during the winter as it is during the Fall.  Just keep in mind that you want homeowners to feel the warm attractive appeal when looking at every facet of your property. When it snows, make sure that you shovel all the walkways and the driveway. Make sure if you have an open house that there is easy access and that you put down ice-melt because an injured guest is the last thing you want.

If there is snow on the ground, try to clear it away from any architectural structures so interested buyers can see what your yard has to offer in warmer months.  If you have decorative patios, retaining walls, and landscaping, it’s best to remove the snow so people can see how lovely the yard can be.

2.  Increase Lighting

With the days being shorter during the winter, a lot of your workweek open houses may be at night. Be sure that you have extra lights both inside and outside to brighten everything. Even if you are showing during the day, be sure that you open all drapes to bring in as much natural light as possible. At night path lights are eye-catching and will brighten up walkways while making people feel warm and welcome.

3.  Turn Up the Heat

If a potential home buyer walks into a cold home, they will naturally have a “cold” connotation associated with your home.  Also, if home buyers are uncomfortable they could duck out of the showing early before exploring your entire home. So, be sure to turn the heat up to a comfortable temperature for everyone.

4.  Maintain Exterior of the Home

Clearing the gutters and drains is not only good practice for every homeowner, it’s particularly beneficial to sellers because it keeps the property looking and functioning best.  This increases curb appeal and decreases the chances of water damage or issues further into to inspection process.

5.  Declutter the Entry Ways

It’s typical practice to keep boots, coats, and shovels near your doors during the winter months but tuck those away during showings and open houses.  Hiding winter gear will keep mudrooms, foyers, and entryways looking clear, clean, and more inviting to prospective buyers.  The less of your belongings they see the more they can picture their belongings there instead. It can be more challenging to declutter when you lack a basement or garage, so here are some tips for storing those belonging. 

6.  Add Warm Seasonal Decor

Cleaning and decluttering is always the name of the game.  But on the other side of the coin, a sparse and sterile environment is not very welcoming.  You want to create an atmosphere that will make people want to return and live in the home.  Depersonalizing by taking photographs off the walls and kids artwork off the fridge is the first step.  Decorating with warm and neutral textures is the second.  Cozy, seasonal scents are strongly suggested as well to neutralize any lingering pet or food odors.

7.  Create a Dinner Party Tablescape

Set the dining room table.  Show people how they’d entertain in the home.  Most people tend to stay indoors and closer to home in the winter- let them see how they’d use the common areas when hosting guests.  Winter is the season of hosting friends and family during the holidays, so show them how it’s done.  A seasonal centerpiece along with coordinating place settings will do the trick!

8. Plan Ahead for Photographs

As much as increased lighting, shoveled walkways, and seasonal décor do make a home look pretty on the outside, it’s best to take professional images when the grass is green, the sun is shining, and the flowers are in bloom.  It helps people feel more attracted to your home over another listing that’s presented in photos with a dreary, grey landscape.   Be sure to tidy up the yard and home and have a professional photographer take images of your home and property before snowfalls.  If you have to take photos in the winter, the same rules apply- make sure the walkways are clear, any winter planters are clear of snow, all lights are on and there’s a blue sky on a bright day.

Selling during the winter because of everyone’s hectic schedules may naturally mean that the process will take a little longer. Stay patient and follow some of these preparation tips to help make your home stand out.