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Selling Your Home In Winter

Winter can be a challenging time to sell your home.  The weather is cold and dreary and you have less time to show it off during daylight hours. However, there is good news.

While the number of homebuyers drops in winter, those left house-hunting are generally a more serious group--ready to make a deal now. Meanwhile, competition drops as other sellers decide to pull their homes off the market and wait for spring. Fewer homes on the market means yours will get more attention from buyers. If you’re willing to put some work into it and play up the cozy factor, you can make your house really stand out, even if the weather outside is frightful.

  • Clear a path. If potential buyers can’t get in, they won’t buy your house! Stay ahead of the snow and ice by shoveling all driveways and sidewalks. Sprinkle a layer of salt or sand to keep the pathways from freezing. Don’t forget the parking situation either! Nothing is less inviting than having to climb over large snow piles by the driveway or street. Keep them interested in the house before they even step foot inside.
  • Turn up the heat. This is not the time to save on your heating bill. If potential buyers are shivering inside your home, they’ll be less likely to stick around. Keep your thermostat set between 70-72 degrees. For tips on how to keep your home's heating system heating evenly, read this previous blog post.
  • Create a mood. Set the scene and help the buyers see themselves living happily in this house. A folded throw draped over the back of an armchair, a plump quilt at the foot of the bed or an area rug in warm hues are a few small additions that will make a big difference in the way a room feels to prospective buyers.
  • Light it up. Make the most of the light you do have. Open up the curtains and blinds in each of the rooms to let in as much natural light as possible. Turn on all the lights in the house—no one wants to walk into a dark room!
  • Keep entryways clean. As with any time of year, a clean and clutter-free house will sell more easily (and maybe at a higher price) than one with more visible clutter. During winter it is especially important to remove mucky boots outside and keep family gear hidden in a closet or trunk, where potential buyers won't trip over them. A Swiffer-style mop kept in the coat closet can be used to quickly freshen entry floors before a showing.
  • Play music. Turn the radio station to the local jazz or classical station or fill your CD player with soothing music. Keep it turned down to background levels so you can barely hear it.
  • Emphasize the winter positives. Basement playrooms, indoor exercise areas, heated toolsheds and the like will be especially welcome in a place with a cold winter.  Do you have a cozy fireplace? Make sure your Realtor highlights it in the listing information. Is your home on a bus route or some other vital service that means it's plowed or de-iced regularly in bad weather? Be sure to mention that to the buyers.

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