Selling Your Home During the Winter Season

By shaye • July 11th, 2010

Now is a great time to have your home on the market to sell! The buyers who are out looking are likely more serious and may be on a deadline to be settled by the first of the year – such as relocation buyers and investors on tax deadlines. Also, fewer houses on the market over the holidays mean less competition.

Below are several tips for getting your house sold in the wintertime:

1 – Curb appeal is critical – create a great 1st impression!
In less than 30 seconds, your house will make an impression on potential buyers. Now is the time to complete your winter yard

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clean-up:
• Rake up the leaves from your yard, mulched areas, and garden – and clean out the gutters.
• Remove any hanging baskets, pots of dead flowers, and trim all bushes, shrubs, and trees.
• Clean, clean, clean! Pressure wash your sidewalks, driveway, and other hard surfaces. Wash windows as well as the roof – if it suffers from ‘ugly roof stains.’
• Add holiday greenery, outdoor lights, and red bows to energize and enhance your curb appeal!
• Take a photo of the outside of your house so you can see it as a potential buyer sees your house – to help you to see things that have become ‘invisible’ to you. This tip holds true for the inside of your house as well!

2 – Give your home a safety and comfort test.
Make sure your house is safe – inside and out. Starting at the curb in front of your house, walk slowly to the front entrance and take note of any ‘safety issues’ that need to be remedied: Are there cracks in concrete or broken or missing bricks that could cause you to trip and fall? Are flagstone pieces, steps, porches or decks slippery when wet – due to dirt or leaf debris? Are outdoor lights burned out? Are handrails secured? Do tree limbs and shrubs need to be trimmed back – to create a clear path to your front door?

Inside your home, look for sharp corners on furniture, cabinets, art pieces, and architectural features that could cause injury. Replace all burned-out light bulbs.
Walk through your home – as a buyer would – to make sure furniture arrangements allow for easy passage from room to room. Packed-up moving boxes should be out of harms way. Especially during the holiday season, make sure that you can walk easily around holiday decorations, electrical cords, etc. A safe and comfortable home will have a positive impact on potential buyers!

3 – Place furniture for easy flow and conversation.
The holiday season is an excellent time to stage and showcase your house for selling. You can play up the cozy-factor of winter and show off your home at its holiday best – ready for great times with family and friends.
• If you have a fireplace, this is typically a plus for buyers – make sure that it is a focal point. For safety reasons, of course – don’t leave a burning fire unattended. And the same goes for burning candles. Do place your furniture in a way that highlights the fireplace, hardwood floors, built-in shelves, French doors, beautiful outdoor views, wainscoting, open floor plan, and other special features of your home.
• Arrange furniture in a way that is conducive to parties and entertaining. This will send the message to house hunters, “It’s easy to entertain guests in this home!” Whenever possible, place sofas and chairs in a ‘command position’ so you can easily see the main entryway into the room. This will allow you to feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed. Avoid arrangements that block your way into a room.
• Place TVs, computers, and other electronics out of the ‘command position’ in a room – as much as possible. Better yet, keep them behind closed doors. This will keep the focus on people, conversations, and relationships vs. electrical equipment.

4 – Staging tips for the holidays
Homes tend to look their most-inviting best at the holidays! Red is a high-energy holiday color that is universally appealing – as well as natural winter greenery. Simple fresh wreaths, red bows and poinsettias, and twinkling white lights add festive flare while complementing the décor of most homes. Too many beautiful decorations can actually take away from the focus on your home, so less is always better when staging and decorating your home to sell.

5 – Create a warm and inviting environment to welcome potential buyers!
The winter season is ideal for adding warmth and coziness to your home.
• Starting with the front door – an important welcoming factor of your property – make sure that potential buyers enter your home through the front door vs. a side or back door or (worse!) through the garage. A fresh coat of paint, clean storm door, new door mat, and a lock that is easy to open – will all boost that 1st impression.
• Inside – plush area rugs, soft afghans and blankets, velvet throw pillows, soft ambient lighting, good books, puzzles, and board games – will all add warmth and coziness during the winter season.
• For showing appointments, turn up the heat, play soft music, and offer homemade cookies for holiday house hunters. Your goal is to evoke an emotional response from potential buyers that says: “This feels like home!”
While in the process of selling your home during the holidays, simply pretend you are hosting a party for potential buyers! Do what you would naturally do in preparing to entertain, and you will be on track for attracting the ideal buyer for your home!

About the author: Vicki Honeycutt is a Greensboro, NC REALTOR with RE/MAX 1st Choice. An expert in how to “design your home to sell”, Vicki shares her expertise in real estate, home staging, Feng Shui, real estate photography, and marketing. Check out her blog at (http://trendfunnel.com/come-n-get-it/ ). Use Trend Funnel’s (http://trendfunnel.com ) revolutionary 3-Step Trend Funnel® Method to shop for unique home decor items, furniture, artwork, accessories and more all from one complete source!

Vicki Honeycutt is a Greensboro, NC REALTOR with RE/MAX 1st Choice. An expert in how to “design your home to sell”, Vicki shares her expertise in real estate, home staging, Feng Shui, real estate photography, and marketing. Check out her blog at http://trendfunnel.com/come-n-get-it/ Use Trend Funnel?s (http://trendfunnel.com ) revolutionary 3-Step Trend Funnel

 

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