Selling your home during the winter can be more challenging than putting it on the market in warmer months, but by taking a few key steps and following these tips, you might sell your property by the time the flowers bloom
If you have ever tried to sell a property in the winter when everything is under a blanket of snow and ice, then you know it can be challenging. Ensuring the property looks ideal, your visitors are comfortable, and everything looks its best possible light is more complicated when it is dark and dreary outside. However, there are some ways you can carve the path to a home sale even during the snowiest winter, so follow these ten tips when you are listing your home.
1. Snowscape Your Yard
Ensure that your potential buyers and visitors won’t have to trudge through snow and ice to get to your front door by shoveling the path to the front door and driveways and clearing snow from spots where they are likely to park. You can shovel the sidewalks and driveway yourself, of course, or hire a professional snow removal service to handle it.
First impressions are key when selling a home, so if your yard is frosty, icy, or otherwise tough to traverse in the winter, ensure that prospective buyers feel welcome by clearing the snow.
2. Share Pictures of Your Home in All Seasons
You should also ensure that you have clear pictures of your home's exterior without the snow cover in your listing; a winter wonderland can be beautiful, but it can also cover up potential problems.
In fact, if you are thinking of listing your home in the winter (or in general), take detailed pictures and video or even hire a professional photographer to capture your house in the current season. You can always update the listing with new images as the seasons change if it stays on the market for a while. Good photography is what draws people in and attracts them to your listing after all. Your real estate agent can advise you as to what images to use and connect you with a local photographer or videographer with real estate experience if necessary.
3. Get Everything Professionally Cleaned
One way to make sure that your home sparkles in the winter is to clean it thoroughly and that even seemingly minor details like the ceiling fans or light fixtures and baseboards shine. Don’t forget to wipe out the refrigerator, freezer, and the inside of cabinets (since someone may get curious and open them at a showing). It might be gloomy outside, but the interiors can be bright and clean. Find a professional cleaning service near you to do the work or block off some time on your calendar to give your property a deep clean before you host an open house or otherwise invite potential new owners into your space.
4. Brighten Things Up
Light up the dark spaces in your home by turning on all the lights when hosting potential new owners or holding an open house. This includes holiday lights or decorations as well (if applicable in your case), but be sure to take them down in a timely fashion. After all, holiday lights and other out-of-season decorations can make your home and yard seem unkempt even if it is otherwise well maintained.
Using motion-detecting lights or timers for interior and exterior lights can be a good way to make sure you floor your home with light at the most opportune times and avoid wasting energy the rest of the time.
5. Keep It Warm
The last thing you want when selling your home is for your guests to be literally frozen out. Even if you normally like to keep the thermostat low to save on energy costs when selling your home, you want guests to be comfortable, and that means keeping them warm and toasty. Think of creating a snug winter haven, and you’ll have the right idea.
6. Showcase Your Home’s Best Aspects With Staging
Every house has spots you’d likely want to highlight to prospective buyers—along with areas you’d rather gloss over. For instance, a professional home stager will arrange furniture, artwork, and other items to essentially guide visitors to the positive aspects of your house and avoid putting too much focus on the negatives. You may also want to make sure to avoid certain elements, like a slippery deck.
7. Set the Mood
Play some festive background music (classical piano or similar instrumentals can be good here), stage the home with cozy throw blankets and candles, and otherwise make it look like a winter sanctuary when you show your house to prospective buyers in the winter.
8. Optimize Your Home’s Digital Presence
The internet doesn’t have seasons, nor does it take time off for the holidays. What’s more, people might have time off work, which means they have more time to browse real estate listings and even visit potential properties if they are in the market.
So, keep that in mind and ensure that you work with your real estate agent (if applicable) to promote your listing online—including social media—to reach your audience while browsing properties and perhaps dreaming of a new home to start the new year or new season.
Furthermore, if people are thinking about purchasing a new home during the winter months instead of waiting until spring, they likely mean business. So, you might have fewer interested parties, but the ones who do show up are serious, and they might even be on a deadline that expires when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st.
9. Countdown to the New Year
Prospective buyers may also want to get tax breaks from purchasing before the year ends, so they can possibly get deductions or tax credits for mortgage interest, private mortgage insurance or PMI premiums, real estate taxes, or home improvement costs when they file by April.
Other deadlines prospective buyers might work against are expiring leases at the year’s end, relocation in the new year for work or personal reasons, or perhaps their current home is under contract, and their time is up at the end of the year.
10. Maintain a Positive Mentality
If selling your home in the winter seems overly challenging, don’t let yourself appear discouraged. Remember that other people feel the same way, so it’s likely there are fewer properties on the market in your area during the winter. This means less competition and more opportunities to make your home stand out–so you can sell it more quickly and start the spring off fresh.