Selling your home in the winter in a colder climate like CT does not give you the opportunity to ‘green’ up the lawn or plant colorful flowers.
The grass might be brown, and the trees are bare. Even so, you can still make the house look and feel appealing to the cold-weather buyer.
A few days ago I drove by a listed house. It was on a corner and had no trees, so there was a clear view of the back of the property. Leaves were still on the ground, a fence in the back was falling down, there was junk strewn inside the fenced-in area, and there was some mystery clump of garbage in the center of the side yard. Couldn’t figure that one out.
Would you think this house would appeal to any prospective buyers driving up or by? I think not. Just because it’s cold is not an excuse for not keeping the outside grounds pristine clean.
So, what can you do to make your house look and feel more appealing in the winter and increase your chances for selling your home in the winter?
1. Spiff Up the Grounds
There’s the all important curb appeal. No matter what season it is, curb appeal is an important element in selling a home. Some buyers won’t even go inside if the house is a mess outside like the one I described above.
Even though there are no flowers blooming, the yard should be raked and the grass should be mowed. If it’s too late to mow, at least remove acorns, branches, pinecones, etc.
Lay down mulch around the shrubs, trees, and flower beds. Camouflage bare spots in the lawn, where possible.
Of course, when the snow arrives and stays, all bets are off here….but it does melt!
2. Clean Up the House Exterior
The exterior of the house should be clean and should not have any stains or dirt. Where possible with the colder temperatures, repair peeling paint or correct any siding issues.
Gutters should be clean with no visible debris hanging down.
If you have a deck or patio, make sure it is cleaned of leaves and debris as well. Keep the patio furniture out to set the stage in the buyer’s mind for having parties and barbeques when the warmer weather returns.
3. Warm Up The Interior
Inside the house, keep the heat at a warm, comfortable temperature for showings. You want buyers to linger and not wish they had brought an extra sweater.
Fireplaces can sell homes. I wouldn’t leave the fireplace lit during a showing, but having some battery operated candles placed on a fireplace candelabra is a nice touch. Maybe drape a warm throw over a sofa to help the buyer imagine curling up in front of the fireplace and relaxing on a cold, winter night.
4. Show Your House in the Best Light
With the shorter days in the winter, take full advantage of any natural light. Leave drapes and blinds open and clean the windows until they’re sparkling clean.
Be sure all fixtures have bulbs. You might want to increase the wattage to show the home in the best light. If possible, turn on all lights before the showing.
Also, add some attractive green leafy plants to ‘warm up’ the interior.
5. Stay on Top of Snow/Ice Removal
When snow becomes an issue, keep the driveway and walkways clear and de-iced. Prospects who see an icy, possibly dangerous walking surface may just decide not to get out of their car and into the house.
If icicles become an issue, be sure to stay on top of them by removing them when they begin to form. They can be dangerous, and they do not add to the appearance of a home unless you’re in the market for an igloo.
Winter is cold; Winter is dark. Your home should not be either if your home is on the market. There are fewer buyers out and there’s less competition since many sellers think erroneously they should wait to list their homes until spring. So take advantage of the winter market.
Emphasize the upkeep, warmth and coziness of your home and that just may be what it takes to make your home the one the cold-weather buyer decides to purchase.