How can sellers prepare for wintertime showings of their homes?
There are always some seasonal challenges to selling homes when there is less daylight, when it’s colder outside, and when the wonderful exterior landscaping features of a home are not visible.
You can successfully overcome these obstacles with a few smart strategies:
Clear a path. Be sure the driveway has been plowed and sanded. This clearing should include any sidewalks or walkways leading to the house. It’s also nice if you place a boot tray by the front door for umbrellas and shoes. Paper booties can even be set out. While some people may not want to wear them, the more common impression is that you care a lot about your home — great news for potential buyers.
Consider how buyers will see the home. Since it gets dark earlier, it’s critical to have good lighting, both inside and outside. This should include decorative flood lighting and other landscape and pathway lighting. Always leave interior blinds and curtains open to let in the most natural light. In particular, if you have any windowless, dark rooms, add fixtures. Also, clean your windows, which can look especially dirty during the winter.
Showcase the home’s ambiance and hospitality. Think about the features of your home that make it inviting. Cozy blankets, pillows, seasonal flowers and candles can create great ambiance. Heat the home a few degrees warmer to make it even cozier. Transform your bathrooms into spa-like environments with plush robes, piles of neatly presented towels, and boutique bath products. In the dining room, set the table as if you’re expecting company. Stage porches and decks with conversational seating, and light outdoor fireplaces.
Use tasteful decorations. It’s great to create a sense of warmth and family, but be cautious, and don’t overdo holiday decorations. You don’t want to obscure any of your home’s great features, and excessive decorations might not feel comfortable to a visiting buyer. Sparing, seasonal decorations are best, and allow prospective buyers to envision it as their home.
Show the home in all seasons. Work with your Realtor to print photos of your home taken during other seasons; encourage buyers to take copies with them so they can be reminded of the home while they’re considering their options. This can be particularly important if you have a pool, for example.
The good news for sellers? It bodes well that you’re dealing with motivated buyers when they’re willing to venture out and tour homes during brisk or inclement weather.
Amy Rabenhorst, Sotheby’s International Realty, (203) 869-4343 office, (203) 550-7230 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org