Depending where you are geographically in the country, you may already be experiencing winter snow and freezing temperatures. Winter is a challenging season for real estate professionals for a number of reasons. Not only are there fewer folks who want to begin the process of buying or selling a home, the state people keep their home in during the winter can be less than ideal. The gardens may have died and not touched since summer, toys are left on the yard even during snowfalls, and entryways may be covered in mud and water from dirty shoes coming in from outside. Now, more than ever, a real estate agent needs to review with their client the Dos and Don’ts of home selling.
Are the walkways around the house safe?
You would be amazed at the number of times a seller has forgotten to salt a driveway or path, leading to icy and hazardous conditions.
Is the interior warm?
Now may be a good time to encourage your client to invest in space heaters. The more cozy the place feels, the more at home buyers will feel. If the home has a fireplace, starting it up before showing a home adds both heat and ambiance.
Are the rooms well lit?
If possible, natural light is always preferable. You can encourage more natural light inside by opening the blinds and even giving the windows a deep clean, both inside and out. If that still doesn’t do the trick, white light bulbs and numerous lamps are sure to brighten a room.
Does it feel like winter?
Perhaps a strange item for the checklist, but an important one nonetheless. While you don’t want buyers feeling chilly, winter is a wonderful season, so why not embrace it? Ask clients to envision a comfortable snow lodge. They’ll see fur blankets, fireplaces, and people bundled up drinking hot cocoa. While you don’t want to stretch to that level, it’s a great example of how to make winter homey. Comfortable blankets draped over couches and even hot cider offered to buyers can have a powerful impact.
Are winter amenities emphasized?
What buyers look for in one season can change dramatically in another. In winter, many will be wondering about snow plow schedules, how far is the nearest bus stop, and a variety of other chilly concerns. None of these are easy to display visually, so you may want to encourage your client to include this information on a flyer that can be distributed to home seekers as they walk through.
Is it attractive in the dark?
Despite the fact that home seekers should expect there to be some shadows and areas that cannot be seen at night, when they drive by the property after sunset, they still expect to be dazzled. Outdoor lighting, combined with porch lights and even Christmas lights can create a luminous and attractive setting. For even more ease, suggest that your clients put the lights on timers so they will automatically go on when it gets dark.
While there are certainly a range of things that you would add to this checklist for your area, starting with the basics can help your client get a sense of what types of modifications will be expected if he wants to successfully sell his home during the winter months.