Thursday, October 18, 2012

Prepping Your Home for a Winter Sale

Where I come from, selling in the winter time is tough work.  Inventory levels shrink which can help your home stand out, but also, the amount of buyers searching for homes shrink.  You're likely to have fewer showings.  Not a lot of people want to be hauled around in parkas and snow pants to see a few homes in sub zero temperatures, let alone have to move in the snow.

The odds are stacked against you in the winter time unless you have a plan.  Make your home stand out.  Here are a few tricks to getting that listing sold over the winter time.

Exterior Photos Set the Stage

If you're thinking about listing your home in the winter but you're not quite ready, I suggest getting some photos taken immediately.  Soon, trees will be bare, grass will be brown, flowers will be dead and snow will cover all of your beautiful landscaped areas.  Winter is the worst time for photos.  There's something about the angle of the sun that makes the sky much more pale.  Greys and browns abound.  It's always a good idea to get good pictures of your house in spring, summer and fall.  I feel autumn and spring are the best times for exterior photos, there is just so much color.  You be the judge:

Winter Photo:

or the Autum Photos:

Granted, these aren't the same homes, but you get the point...

Keep it Warm and Cozy

The last thing you want to do after getting out of a cold car, walking through a cold December afternoon and opening a cold door handle is to walk into a cold and un-inviting home.  As a seller, winter is not the time to skimp on heating.  Don't sweat our your buyers, but make sure your home is warm and draft-free.  If you have a fireplace, light it up before a showing.  It's a nice touch that provides a cozy ambiance and let's the buyers know it is fully functioning.  Winter also means windows are constantly closed, allowing the house to get musty and stuffy.  Bad smells can kill a deal.  My advice on the cheap:  get a tea kettle and pour in a few pints of apple juice, throw a dash of cinamon, nutmeg and/or cloves and set to a light simmer.  The cold weather spices will conjure cozy memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas and will help your buyers really feel at home. 

Keep it Safe and Clean

I always tell my sellers:  make it easy for someone to see and fall in love with your home.  If that means putting a little extra effort into the sale, then so be it.  You wouldn't believe how much a shoveled walk way can impact a buyer. Not only do they appreciate the effort to keep them safe from slipping on ice, it is a further indication of the care you most likely put into your home and yard.  They may not be able to see the lawn through the snow, but if you neatly shovel the drive way and walk, they'll assume you handle the yard in the same careful manner (they should already know because you provided springtime pictures of your yard, didn't you?).  One other nice touch that benefits the buyer and the seller is providing some sort of shoe station.  You don't want folks bringing in dirty, slushy muck into your home, so provide them a station to remove their shoes.  If that isn't an option, provide disposable "booties" to slip over their shoes so they don't damage your carpets.  Better yet, a nice touch would be to provide an array of comfortable slippers or sandals, so your buyer's feet stay warm and cozy throughout the tour!

Although the odds are stacked against you, I've always got inventive ideas to put the odds in your favor when selling over winter time.  Give me a call today if you're interested in making a move.

Jared Reimer is a real estate broker with Prudential Rocky Mountain Realtors in Northern Colorado.  Real estate is his passion and he always wants to connect with like-minded and savvy real estate fans.  For more information or to get in touch with Jared, please visit his website at or email him at

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