Winter market knowledge is a priority. First and foremost, hire an agent that has a detailed marketing plan and pricing strategy specifically for the winter market. And, without question, insist that your agent uses the best real estate marketing tool there is- Professional Real Estate Photography by Annie M Design.
Find a happy balance between Scrooge and Clark Griswald. Minimize Holiday decorations and pack them away right after the Holiday is over. Keep it simple, white lights, a wreath on the door and a tree in the living room are the perfect ways to decorate while your home is on the market. Leave the more elaborate decorations for the next house.
Keep your home safe and accessible in winter weather. In inclement weather, make sure to have a clear path to your front entrance with snow removal and ice melt. One home that always comes to mind when I think of post snow storm clearing is a home I photographed last year. A very clever seller cleared a square path around the perimeter of their front and back yard, so a potential buyer could walk the exterior of the home without any obstruction of snow. I am sure this made quite a positive impression on all prospective buyers.
Warm buyers are happy buyers. If your home is vacant, the rule of thumb is to keep your heat around 50 degrees, so pipes do not freeze. In my opinion, that temperature is just too cold. It might be just high enough to ensure that no pipes burst, but when a buyer walks into a home that is cold and empty, once there teeth start to chatter, they will want to run back out to their warm car. Bring the heat up to around 65 degrees, where it is comfortable, warm and cozy. Yes, this could make a difference in your heating bills, but if this small change helps bring a buyer to your home faster, it will be a great decision in the long run.
Don't leave your home (and potential buyers) in the dark. With shorter days, the need for home lighting is more important than ever. Buyers will schedule showings after their work day and this usually means that this will also be after sunset. Make sure the exterior of your home is well lit and that the lights are on inside the home. When a prospective buyer pulls up to your home, the welcoming feel of a well lit house will always make a positive first impression.
Organize it or hide it, there is no in between. Keep the entry and/or mud room clean and organized. It is easy to let the winter coats, boots, hats, gloves etc, to pile up, which can pull a buyer's eyes away from the positives to just looking at clutter. Keeping these areas organized can be a challenge during a snowy season, but making sure it is tidy and neat can highlight the space and possibilities of these areas of your home.
Show off warm weather positives of your home, even in the middle of a blizzard. Do you have a pool, extensive gardening or other exterior features of your home that can't be shown off in the winter? Don't hesitate to show off pictures of these areas during their peak seasons at a central location in the home, like a front entry or kitchen island. Framing or making a book with the images is always a lovely touch! Even go the extra mile if you have a pool, when you have your pool closed, ask the pool company that you use to inspect the pool and then make any necessary repairs to ensure a clean bill of health. Buyers are unable to order a true pool inspection during the winter months and could make them hesitant to purchase without the knowledge of the pool condition. With a clean pool inspection available, you can relieve those concerns.
Don't be discouraged by cold weather selling; winter buyers are serious buyers Winter buyers usually are buying because they need to, not because they want to, which can create a high level of motivation. With low interest rates and predictions of 2016 being one of the strongest real estate markets in years, we are set to have the best winter yet!