Winter is not typically the most popular time of the year to sell and it may be hard to ready your home for an open house, but these tips can help buyers see past the cold & snow and dream big.
A fresh snowfall can be a picturesque advantage, provided walkways are cleared and a cozy interior awaits prospective buyers.
Access to your front door must be easy. Clear all snow and ice from the driveway, front walk, porch and any paths around the house and backyard. You don't want potential buyers to start their open house experience with a slip on the ice of your driveway or walkway. Use rock salt to ensure a more welcoming walkway.
We all know what entryway floors usually look like in the wintertime. Boots and shoes track in snow, dirt and salt, leaving a wet, sloppy mess everywhere. With potential buyers coming inside to look at the house you have to decide how to manage the floors, coats and boots so as not to distract from your entryway's first impression. Only have one bulky winter coat at the entrance per person or even consider moving them during your open house. Have a basket for putting hats, scarves and mitts in and be sure to have a boot tray so melting snow will not spread over the floor. Put out a freshly washed or new rug and keep a spare tucked away, as a backup and be sure to mop up the wet mess often.
Fill your home with bright and warm light, creating a welcoming contrast to the cold outside. A cozy environment will likely entice buyers to stick around and can definielty make the home seem more appealing. If you have a gas fireplace or clean-burning wood stove, lighting it is a good way to make your place feel like home. You might also want to add warm accessories, like blankets on the couch and chairs. Buyers will see it an imagine themselves cozying up in a blanket by the fire.
Find the perfect temperature keeping in mind the door is going to open and close throughout the open house. Be sure your home is set at a warm temperature, it doesn't have to be hot, but it should not be cold. Shivering buyers are less likely to enjoy their visit, will probably leave early and may be put off from making an offer. And don't forget the basement, it can often be quite a bit cooler than the rest of the house.
Just because it is Winter doesn't mean you have to give up on your garden. Structural garden elements like benches, planters and rock walls can create an attractive presentation no matter the season. If you have a porch, patio or deck clean it up and use winter greenery and lighting to enhance the structural elements of your outdoors. Create a photo album, frame or bulletin board with spring and summer photos of your yard and property so Buyers don't have to imagine what it might look like.
Create a welcoming and relaxing first impression with light aromas. Brew coffee, heat apple cider or warm a pie in the oven. It's not a bad thing for your cold, thirsty buyers to linger in the kitchen and have that 5 minute 'coffee moment' that might give them a taste of their new home. Think about using a mild scented candle or room air freshener in your bathrooms. A smelly bathroom is a true turnoff for potential buyers. The rule is to keep fragrances very light to not overwhelm scent-sensitive buyers.
If selling during the Christmas holidays, resist the urge to over-decorate. Holiday decorations act as a clutter hiding your home's potential. Once the Christmas season is over be sure to put away your decorations quickly and give your home a thorough clean.