Selling your home during any season can be a stressful undertaking, but there are always certain things you can do to highlight its great features and help it sell quickly and for top dollar. Selling your home in the winter is no different. Okay, it can be quite a bit different, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.
First of all, while there are typically fewer people buying houses in the winter months, there are also fewer people selling houses, which means less competition for you as a seller. This also means that the people braving the cold to attend your open houses are more likely to be serious buyers, and less likely to be "just browsing." It's also important to remember that the main reasons people purchase a home (relocating for that new job, upsizing due to a growing family or downsizing because the kids are out of the house) happen throughout the year, whether there's snow on the ground or not. So don't fret and be sure to follow our tips for selling your home in the winter.
1) Safety First!
Ensure the driveway and entranceway are shoveled and clear of ice, both for making your home look well-maintained but most importantly for safety purposes. The last thing you want is to make entering your home an obstacle course or for anyone to slip and get hurt.
"Snow Days" shouldn't be restricted to school bus cancellations. If the weather isn't cooperating and the roads are particularly dangerous, reschedule your open house or appointment. Potential buyers will be more likely to venture out during nicer weather anyway and won't enter your home in a foul mood from having to drive in terrible weather conditions.
2) Come On In
While you can't paint or do any major landscaping during the winter, you can still make sure your home looks well-maintained and attractive in general. Wash the windows, siding and any paint work with warm soapy water. Hang a festive wreath on the front door or string garland along the front porch to create an inviting feeling. Don't forget to turn on those outdoor Christmas lights as well (unless you're trying to rival the Griswold's home in Christmas Vacation, in which case we recommend keeping your Christmas lights turned off).
3) Turn up the Heat
No one likes a chilly house during the winter, and if your house isn't warm and cozy, potential buyers won't stick around very long during a viewing. Keep in mind though, that buyers will typically be dressed for the cold and perhaps running in and out of other open houses. As such, you don't want to overheat your house either. The ideal temperature, when it's neither too cold nor too hot, is about 70 degrees according to experts. Don’t' be afraid to have that fireplace blazing though, as a crackling fire will make your home brighter and feel cozier.
4) Let There Be Light
Selling your home in the winter means that you'll be working with shorter days and less natural light. While you might be tempted to block drafts by keeping the curtains closed, it's a better idea to maximize what daylight there is by opening up all blinds, curtains and shades. Entering a darkened room can be especially depressing when coming in from the cold and snow, so make sure to leave all the lights on before a showing. If you're worried about wasting energy or the associated extra cost (especially if you'll be cranking the heat a bit higher than usual), purchase automatic timer switches.
5) Don't Forget About the Details
As with our other tips, keeping prospective buyers in mind will help ensure that you have a successful home sale during this time of year. Do a complete walkthrough of your home, starting at the side of the road, and look at everything from a potential buyer's point of view. Once they enter the house, are they going to take their shoes off? No one wants to dodge puddles of melted snow and you certainly don't want buyers to have wet socks while viewing your home. Hang a "Please take off your shoes" sign next to a coat rack for those heavy winter jackets, and a large mat for those wet shoes and boots.
Another detail you should think about including: have photos of your home and outdoor spaces during the spring and summer months. Showcase your backyard, flower gardens or pool so that buyers can see the full potential of your home and what it has to offer.
Winter may be coming, but don't let the cold weather and snow be an excuse for not listing your home. If you have questions about selling your Ridgewood home or are ready to get the process started, contact us online or call the Tarvin Realtors office at (201) 444-0690.