How to Sell Your Home This Winter

If you're considering selling your home soon, don't let the cold season stop you. Although it's commonly thought that winter isn't the ideal time to sell, in reality, selling during this time of year has several unique advantages. If you're worried that there are less buyers out there looking, know that they are more serious about buying. Since housing inventory tends to drop in the winter, your home is sure to stand out.

Stage Your Home
  • Stage your home to appeal to the coziness of the season. Place throw blankets on the sofa in the living room and turn on the gas fireplace, if you have one, during an open house or right before a showing. If you have a scent burner, use wax melts scented with vanilla, pine, cinnamon, or other warming scents or place bowls of potpourri throughout your home.
  • If you can only stage one room, make it the living room. Stack wood by the fireplace, arrange blankets and cushy pillows on sofa and clear away any clutter, including unnecessary furniture. Depersonalize your space by putting away family photos and sentimental items. Instead, display photos of the property during spring or summer months, when landscaping is in full bloom or outdoor furniture is set. This will give buyers an idea of what the property will look like when it's warmer out.
Turn up the Heat
Buyers want a home to be warm and inviting. Keep the thermostat at 70 degrees during open houses and showings. Although winter is a time when many homeowners strive to save money by conserving energy, you may want to deal with increased bills while your home is on the market. If you don't live in the home year round or it's a vacation home, think about leaving the heaton while it's on the market.

Turn on the Lights
In the winter, there are fewer hours of daylight. Many potential buyers will view your home when it's dark and gloomy outside. Keep the lights on while potential buyers are viewing your home. By turning on all lights in the room, you allow buyers to truly see your home. If your home is still dark, consider adding more lights, such as table and floor lamps. Take it a step further by ensuring the light bulbs are the same color temperature to maximize your light benefits.

Protect your floors
Keep road salt, sand and dirt where it belongs - outside. Place rubber mats by your door and ask that buyers wipe their feet or remove their shoes during the showing. Place one-size fits all slippers by the door for them to wear while they're in your home.

Keep driveways and walkways clear
If you live in an area that gets snow and ice, be sure your driveway and walkways are free of debris. If you expect icy conditions, be sure to sand before an open house or showing to prevent potential buyers from slipping and falling. If you are unable to shovel yourself, hire a snow removal company to ensure the paths are clear.

Decorate your outdoor spaces
If you're listing your home around the holidays, don't be afraid to put up festive decorations, such as a wreath, holiday lights or garland. These small touches make a home feel more inviting. Although you should take the lights down after the holidays, leave your wreath if the design is in keeping with the season, not just the holiday.

Incorporate pops of color by your front door with a topiary or colorful wreath that features bright berries. These eye- catching details add some cheer to your exterior and help your home stand out during the season.

Clean your windows
Clean windows allow more light in to brighten your entire home. While you're washing away dirt, grime and fingerprints, take a minute to inspect the seals. If the seals are cracked, repair them or have them replaced. Condensation becomes more obvious during the winter months and may turn off some buyers.

Do preventative maintenance before you list your home
When reviewing your home, pay special attention to your heating system. Change the filters and have it inspected to ensure it's in good working order. Any issues with the furnace or HVAC system will become obvious in the winter. Also be sure to have the roof inspected and clean the gutters.

A few more tips to sell your house this winter

Price your house right
When you price your home right, you'll ensure it will be snapped up by a qualified buyer instead of sitting on the market for a long time.

Put yourself in a buyer's shoes
If you're selling a home in the off-season, put the buyer first by accommodating their schedules and desired time for viewing the home. Work with your agent to help plan showings during the socially busy holiday season. Denying showings may create missed opportunities.