We love fall...the spectacular weather and fall colors are mesmerizing...but here in the northeast, most of us in real estate are wary of the fast approaching winter weather. It’s challenging enough to maintain a “show ready” property during temperate weather...but snow, salt, cinders, and lack of vegetation, can cause even the most attractive homes to look like they need some TLC! If your’e feeling blue...cheer up! Statistically winter showings are fewer...but don’t be discouraged...typically this is a quieter time for the real estate market and unlike spring, where many folks are “just looking”...winter showings are all about “buyers” who need to purchase.
SET2SELL Home Staging & Design has some home staging strategies to help you take advantage of the seasonal opportunities in those challenging winter months...
CLEAR ALL ENRTY WAYS & ACCESS AREAS
Keep steps, walkways, and driveways free of snow & ice...use sand/salt to ensure your buyer’s safety...but remember, sand & salt can wreak havoc on your floors...so prepare your home for winter traffic by investing in a new doormat/carpet for inside and out. Talk with your agent about posting a small neatly printed and laminated card asking buyers to wipe their feet or remove their shoes...your potential buyer will appreciate the care you have taken with your home.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
One of the biggest turn offs to a buyer is lack of light...pull up the blinds, open the draperies, and turn on the lights...add accessory lighting if necessary...remember to plug accessory lighting into wall sockets that are live when the switch is turned on. This prevents real estate agents from having to find and manually turn on “each” light. Keep all under counter and built in lights on...many times they have hard to locate switches. Use technology to your advantage...set timers for obscure lighting, especially if you will be out for the evening. Always leave exterior lighting on from the hours of dusk to at
least 9 pm...many potential buyers drive by properties in the evening after work prior to making an appointment with their realtor.
TURN UP THE HEAT
Make sure the thermostat is a degree or two warmer than average...regardless of how you like to keep the temperature...buyers may have been out in the cold for hours looking at properties. Give them a warm welcome , a cozy memory to take home, and a reason to linger in your home a little longer. If you have a gas fireplace...it’s a nice idea to have it lit...I do not suggest lighting a wood burning fireplace...not only is it dangerous, but most people don’t light fires and leave their home unoccupied.
SHOW BUYERS AREAS THAT CANNOT BE APPRECIATED OR SEEN IN WINTER
Make sure you have quality pictures of the exterior spaces and landscaping that cannot be seen in the winter months. Place pictures on a hall table or in a notebook with a photo of your home on the cover and a caption that reads...INFORMATION ON 123 Any Street, USA...you can also add other pertinent information that may interest your buyer(school bus stop location, distance from nearest grocery store, monthly neighborhood events). Your home shopper will appreciate the information and it may cause them to remain in your home longer.
DON’T OVER DO THE SCENTS
Be careful not to over scent your home...avoid plug in and all other free standing air fresheners...many people are allergic to these scents and over scenting may cause buyers to wonder what you might be trying to hide. Never light candles or bake cookies...it is highly overrated & misunderstood. Although smell is important, your buyer is there to view your home...not to eat and smell Yankee Candles’s holiday scents!
TASTEFUL HOLIDAY DECORATIONS CREATE AN INVITING SPACE
Holiday marketing can give you an edge over competing properties...simple
conservative white lights and a festive green wreath or topiary with a spotlight will strike the right note and give an appropriate dose of seasonal cheer!
SHOWCASE THE INDOOR ENTERTAINING POSSIBILITIES
The winter season is prime time for parties and holiday open houses...show off your entertaining areas with neutral festive decor and florals...make it inviting & cozy... a decorative tray, 4-6 wine glasses and a bottle of holiday wine with some small pine foliage.
OUTDOOR WINTER MARKETING
In the middle of winter, it can be difficult to visualize fabulous perennials, plantings, and outdoor entertaining areas...Take advantage of your outdoor space...A fire pit, outdoor fire place, covered porch, urns, and planters decorated with seasonal greens can help buyers see the potential even in the coldest months...be sure to keep these outdoor areas fully furnished if possible.
WINTER STAGING SET ASIDE...REMEMBER THE BASICS...
Regular home maintenance and repairs are essential regardless of the season.
Cleaning and decluttering are always necessary. Improving curb appeal & tidying up the exterior prevents a buyer from making a negative first impression and encouraging them to come in...turning SALE into SOLD!!!
Your real estate agent has done his/her due diligence and knows where your home should be priced...in a slow market, nothing counts more than pricing your home right! Your real estate agent will check competing listings and recent sale prices in your neighborhood...He/she is an expert...listen to their advice and marketing expertise!
HAPPY WINTER MARKETING!
Interior Designer. Home Stager. Over 20 years experience in the Real Estate Design Market.