THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON THE BALANCE.
Thinking about home selling in the winter? Winter presents its own unique set of challenges. It is not the ideal time to put your home on the market if you live where it gets cold and rains or snows, primarily because bad weather doesn’t make your home show well. However, there are steps you can take to brighten your home and make the showing pleasant and enjoyable for your buyers.
1) Clear a Path
- Continually shovel a path through the snow, especially if snowflakes are still falling.
- Footprints on freshly fallen snow will turn to ice if the temperature is low enough, so scrape the walk.
- Sprinkle a layer of sand over the sidewalk and steps to ensure your buyers’ stable footing.
- Remember to open a path from the street to the sidewalk so visitors aren’t forced to crawl over snowdrifts.
- If it’s raining, put a rubber mat by the front door or a container to hold wet umbrellas and shoes.
2) Let in the Light
- Pull up the blinds, open the shutters, push back the drapes on every window.
- Turn on every light in the house, including appliance lights and closet lights.
- Brighten dark rooms with few windows by placing spotlights on the floor behind furniture.
- Turn off televisions, speakers and computers.
3) Turn on the Heat
- Pump up that thermostat. It’s better to heat the house a degree or two warmer than usual and then set the temperature at normal. This prevents the heat from kicking on when the buyer is present, because some HVAC systems are loud.
- You want the temperature inside to be comfortable and to give the buyer more of a reason to linger, especially on a cold day.
- Light the fireplace, but open the damper, place a grate in front of it and don’t leave it unattended for very long. You don’t want your house to catch fire!
- Make your living room appear romantic by placing two champagne glasses near a champagne bucket on the coffee table.
- Toss afghans or throws across the arms of your sofa.
- Turn your bathroom into a spa:
1. Hang plush robes.
2. Roll up wash cloths, tie with a ribbon and place in a basket on the counter
3. Set up a grouping of soaps, lotions and shampoo.
5) Turn on the Music
- Place vases filled with winter flowers around the house.
- Set a breakfast tray on the bed containing a coffee cup, saucer, napkin, reading material.
- Dress your dining room table for a dinner for two.
6) Ease Up on the Scents
- Many people are allergic to certain scents and deodorizers, so don’t spray the air or plug-in air fresheners.
- Don’t burn candles or spray perfume in the bedroom for the same reason.
- If you’re going to bake cookies or simmer spices such as cinnamon in water on the stove, put out munchies so buyers aren’t disappointed. More than one sad buyer has said, “Oh, darn, I thought there were cookies in here!”
7) Make it Visually Pleasing
- Display photographs showcasing your summer flower gardens and lush green lawns.
- Keep blinds partially closed that otherwise show undesirable outdoor scenery such as a dilapidated fence or a nearby structure that obstructs views.
- Make Your House Sparkle:
1. Wash windows
2. Clean out cobwebs.
3. If necessary, re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.
4. Polish chrome faucets and mirrors.
5. Clean out the refrigerator (you know it needs it anyway).
6. Vacuum daily. If your carpeting is plush, vacuum in one direction.
7. Wash or polish floors.
8. Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.
9. Bleach dingy grout.
10. Empty trash and recycling bins.
8) Serve Winter Foods
- Don’t serve muffins or any other kind of food that can be quickly popped into the mouth because you want buyers to stay for a while and notice elements they might otherwise miss.
- Hot soups such as tortilla, tomato, potato or squash are delicious on a cold day.
- Chili or stew is a great alternative to soup, but leave a receptacle for disposal of the paper bowls and spoons.
- Hot apple cider or cups of cocoa make great beverage choices.