Right now we are encouraging our clients to keep their homes on the market or list during the winter. This is a historically a time of lower inventory, and right now we are looking at only 2-3 months of inventory on the market, so there is very little competition when selling your home during the winter. Here are some easy tips to make selling your home during the winter easier for you and the buyer!
1. Make sure driveways and sidewalks are very clear and put down de-icer if necessary. When we first came to look at our current home, both my husband and agent fell in the driveway. We bought it anyway, but not a great first showing! Make sure the lockbox is protected and not full of snow.
2. Clear snow off decks and Patios and anything else that you want the buyers to see. Also shovel access to any sheds or outbuildings that will stay with the property.
3. Remove ice dams or icicles. If you have a problem with these issues, this is the time to address it. Often times heat tape will take care of it. Remember, you must disclose any issues you have with the home.
4. It is OK to decorate, just don’t over do it. A home decorated for the holidays is warm and inviting. Put up the tree and have the lights on for showings. Put the lights on the front of the house – but maybe leave some of the blow up figurines down this year. Display the menorah. Just remember the Three Item Rule (any more than three items on a surface is clutter), and make sure hallways and walkways in your house are clear.
5. Have the outside lights turned on if showings are after 5pm. It gets dark early this time of year, so you want to makes sure the outside lights are on so the agent can see the lockbox at the front door enough to open it. It is nice to drive up to a house at dusk or after dark when all of the lights are on inside and out.
6. Keep your fireplace on IF it’s a gas fireplace. Flameless candles are good too. You DO NOT want to leave a wood fire or candles burning if you are not home.
7. Provide a rug for wet shoes at the front door. Remember you will typically have at least 2 people, maybe more, viewing your home. Give them a place to leave their boots and shoes so your floors will not be wet and dirty.
8. It’s ok to say no to a showing request that is right in the middle of your family baking day or other holiday preparations. If you get a request that does not work for you, ask them to please reschedule for another day. You may lose a few buyers, but you don’t want to make the holidays a stressful time either.
9. Plan on taking the inside decorations down on January 1st. We always say the spring market starts on January 2nd, and I think this year we will see even more activity than usual. If your decorations are still up after the first of the year it will start to be a distraction to the buyer.
10. Have a safe and Happy Holiday Season from our house to yours! If you are thinking about buying or selling a home, feel free to contact us for a free consultation or fill out the contact form to get started!