There's no time of year when people need home selling tips more than in the dead of winter. That's because even though prospective buyers are happy to look at homes year round, sellers have to make an extra effort to show off a home's assets during the cold months. Snow, ice, frigid temperatures, wind, barren trees, slippery walkways, and other factors can make the process of preparing a house for sale a tough job.
There are two parts to selling a home during winter:
- By knowing what not to do, you can vastly increase the chances of making a sale at or near your asking price.
- Taking action to solve some of the common cold-weather selling problems can make or break any deal. That's why any list of tips for selling your home should include pitfalls as well as solutions.
The following home selling tips include common problems along with solutions. That way, you can get your home ready for sale ASAP!
“It always seems impossible until it's done." – Nelson Mandela
Keeping the temperature too low
While people are walking through your home, you want them to feel comfortable, relaxed, and welcome. Nothing creates an uninviting atmosphere more quickly than cold indoor temps.
While your home is on the market during winter, don't keep the thermostat just at a "reasonable" level. Set it a bit warmer than your usual so as viewers traipse through, they'll get an impression of comfort and coziness. Of all the useful home selling tips, this one probably delivers the most bang for your buck.
Not clearing walkways
Avoid legal liability problems and unhappy prospective buyers by hiring a snow-removal company to clear walkways, driveways and patios. You might have to do this several times during the cold months while your house is on the market, but it's worth every penny.
If it snows after the professional service has done its job, be ready to do touch-up and spot shoveling on your own. Keeping paths clear is one of the key elements of curb appeal during winter. Snow can be a pain, but if you stay on top of the situation it's possible to minimize its negative impact.
Assuming it's too cold to paint
Painting services are your best friends during a winter house sale. If you don't need a total paint job, hire a professional who can do an all-around touch-up job to make the exterior look perfect.
Many small companies will welcome the job because winter tends to be their off-season, and will maybe even offer a discount. Consider every dollar spent an investment.
Using old photos in your listing
It's wise to put your best photos in online listings, but if you want to sell during the cold months, make your listing appear more realistic and honest by including winter photos as well. Don't ditch the warm-weather ones, though, because house-hunters like seeing what the place looks like in all seasons.
Letting holiday parties interfere with showings
Work out a deal with your realtor and try to keep your home open for viewing even during the heavy social season that runs from mid-November through early January. There's no sense in letting a holiday party spoil what could be a profitable showing. While your house is open for viewing, consider having holiday parties at restaurants or in relatives' homes.
Ignoring "winter window" syndrome
Barren trees allow so much sunlight into a home that windows look terrible unless they're spotless. Hire a window cleaning service to get every pane of glass crystal clear. If you can do the job yourself, that's okay too, but make sure you don't miss a single spot.
Not doing a deep clean
Consider doing a deep clean yourself or hiring a service to do the chore for you. Homes tend to accumulate more dirt, dust, and grime during the winter for many reasons, mainly because people spend so much time inside. Prospective buyers have eagle-eyes for dirt, so having a deep-clean done on your home's interior is a wise investment.
The best tips for getting a house ready to sell can turn a winter home sale into a profitable, rewarding experience. There's no reason to let cold weather, and all that comes with it, to keep you from getting top dollar for your home.
Contact a local home appraisal company to know exactly how much your home is worth and what you could do to improve it!