Tips for Selling a Home in Winter

Winter can be a hard time to sell your house. Bad weather discourages buyers from venturing out, and it can make a property look dreary.  You can, however, still take some steps to make the home-showing pleasant!  Let in the light, create a warm ambiance—both literally and figuratively.  Here are some other tips that can help entice buyers to come in out of the cold!



1. Clear A Path

Shovel a path through any snow, even if flakes are still falling.  Keep at it periodically if they are still coming down.  Snowdrifts can hide visual cues that one must step down to the next walkway, inviting disaster.

Footprints on freshly fallen snow will turn to ice if the temperature is low enough, so sprinkle a layer of sand or salt over them. Remember to open a path from the street to the sidewalk so visitors aren’t forced to push through drifts.

Consider 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, and push back the drapes on every window unless the view or outdoor scenery is particularly undesirable. Turn on every light in the house, including appliance lights and closet lights. You can further brighten dark rooms with few windows by placing spotlights on the floor behind furniture.



3. Make Everything Sparkle

Washing the windows enhances the precious daylight hours. Other must-do chores include:

  • Clean out cobwebs.
  • Dust the furniture, ceiling fan blades, and light fixtures.
  • Bleach dingy grout and, if necessary, re-caulk tubs, showers, and sinks.
  • Polish chrome faucets and mirrors.
  • Clean out the refrigerator.
  • Wash or polish floors, and vacuum daily. Vacuum in one direction if you have plush carpeting.
  • Empty trash and recycling bins every day.

Above all, you want to eliminate personal clutter. This holds true in any season. Buyers can’t always see past it to imagine themselves living happily and cozily in your home.


4. Consider “Staging” Your Home

This can go a little further than tidying up or even a good, professional cleaning. A home stager can create a flow path that interested buyers are likely to follow, and can downplay or avoid areas you’d rather not shine a spotlight on, such as that back deck that might not be safe to walk on if it’s frozen or if it commonly catches cold blasts of wind from across the lake.


5. Turn Up The Heat

You want the temperature inside to be comfortable and to give a buyer more incentive to linger, especially on a cold day, but you don’t want to overdo it. About 21-23 degrees should do it, and maintaining at least this temperature can help protect your pipes in extreme cold weather as well, particularly if you’re no longer living there.

It’s better to heat the house a degree or two warmer than usual just before the showing, then set the temperature at normal. This prevents the heat from kicking on when the buyer is present, which can be a good thing because some HVAC systems are loud.

Light it up if you have a fireplace, but be sure to open the damper. Place a screen in front of it, and don’t leave it unattended for very long.


6. Create a Mood

You want your rooms to appear especially warm, cozy, and inviting. A few subtle tricks can go a long way:

  • Toss afghans or throws across the arms of your sofa.
  • Dress your dining room table for a dinner for two or four.
  • Set a breakfast tray on the bed with a coffee cup and saucer, napkin, and reading material.
  • Turn your bathroom into a spa by hanging plush robes on the door, placing washcloths and towels in baskets, and arranging a grouping of soaps, lotions, and shampoo.

Evoke a sense of summer. Place vases filled with flowers around the house. Display photographs showcasing flower gardens and lush green lawns—anything but rain or snow.  If it’s the right time of year, decorate for Christmas!

Winter can be a difficult time to sell but it can also be a way to show off how cozy and inviting your home is!  Use these tips to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere to entice buyers in from the cold.