There are many pros and cons of winter homebuying, but what if you’re on the selling side? A recent Redfin report found that winter is the second-best time of the year to list your home, after spring, of course. Nearly eighteen percent of winter listings sell above asking price and 46.2 percent of winter listed homes are off the market within 30 days. From lighting techniques and home staging to energy efficiency, here’s how to make your winter listing draw in prospective buyers.
Tailor Your Listing to Winter Buyers
When homebuyers choose to shop in the wintertime, they’ll subconsciously look for items in prospective homes that will maximize winter living and home efficiency. Even if your home has been on the market since July, work with your real estate agent to rewrite your listing description.
Emphasize items, such as a newer furnace, insulation, attached garage, etc. that would appeal to someone buying a home during the winter months.
You’ll also want to pay special attention to areas of your home that you haven’t updated or replaced and will likely be more noticeable in the wintertime, like older windows and drafty doors.
If your home tends to be on the cooler side and/or you often have high energy bills:
- Clean or replace your furnace filters.
- Have your heating system professionally inspected.
- Seal gaps around window and door frames with caulking and weatherstripping.
- Add insulation where it’s needed.
- Install a digital thermostat if you don’t have one.
Even though these home improvements aren’t the most exciting or visually-appealing, homebuyers notice homes that are well taken care of. On the bright side, even if you don’t sell right away, you’ll reap some of the energy-savings.
Give Each Room a Cozy Touch
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Home staging is all about showing the function of each room and how you enjoy each part of your home, even in the winter months. Home staging experts suggest:
- Keeping your home warm, even if you’re bumping up the thermostat a little higher than normal.
- Draping plush throws over the back of armchairs or sofas.
- If you have a gas fireplace, turn it on right before showings if you’ll be returning home immediately afterward (or ask the buyer’s agent to turn off when leaving).
- Creating visual warmth through fabrics, rugs, curtains, bed linens and tablecloths in warm colors and rich textures.
- Place winter-blooming plants in entryways, on dining room tables, etc.
Boost Your Winter Curb Appeal
One of the downsides of being a winter homebuyer is the lack of curb appeal with all of the melting snow, bare trees and mucky driveways and sidewalks. Complete these tasks to keep your home exterior safe and inviting:
- First things first, you’ll need to be adamant about snow and ice removal on your driveway, walkways, stairs and entrances.
- With the shorter days, make sure the pathway to your entrance is properly lit. Consider adding pathway lights. For visual interest, use clear flood spotlights to highlight your home’s best architectural features.
- Don’t neglect your deck/patio/porch. Outdoor living areas are a trending home feature, so make sure you showcase its existence.
- Flank your front door with urns filled with cold-weather or winter-blooming plants.
- Paint your front door in a bold color. Reds, blues, and rich greens complement a snowy landscape.
Help Buyers Visualize Your Home in Every Season
If you have photos of your home in the spring, summer or fall, it’s a good idea to somehow showcase that to prospective buyers, either through a few framed photos strategically placed in your home or adding a few photos to your listing pictures.
Homebuyers get to see first-hand what your home looks like in the winter, but if summer is really when your curb appeal peaks and your outdoor living areas shine, it’s a good idea to somehow display that.
If you’re actually listing your home this winter, try to have your listing photos taken on a day where there is no snow on the ground.
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Speaking of outdoor living areas, many homeowners choose to store or cover their outdoor furniture once the temperatures drop. If your outdoor space is a highlight of your home, stage it that way, especially if you have an outdoor fireplace or covered porch.
Lighten Up Your Home
In the winter months, any home can feel dreary. Make sure each room of your home has sufficient lighting sources with all three types of lighting – ambient, task and accent.
Keep Holiday Décor to a Minimum
If your home is listed over the holidays, don’t feel like you can’t decorate accordingly, just tone it down. A home that is cluttered with holiday décor can turn away prospective buyers.
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If you do exterior lighting, go neutral with white string lighting. As for your Christmas tree, if you’re accustomed to having a full and tall variety, a smaller version may be a good idea this year. A large tree takes up quite a bit of space and can make a room appear smaller.
But you can also use the holiday season to your advantage by showcasing the entertaining possibilities your home has to offer. Set your holiday tablescape for open houses, so potential buyers can see what it would be like to host Christmas dinner in your home.
For more ideas on proper seasonal home staging, follow us on Pinterest. If you’ll be upsizing or downsizing with another home purchase, download our free Upsizing & Downsizing Guide for everything you need to know about buying your next home.