Thought that selling your home during the winter months was impossible? Think again!
Winter is actually a great time to sell your home if you play your cards right.
With fewer homes for sale during the winter months, you might actually be able to negotiate a higher price. Fewer houses on the market also give you a chance to really stand out with your listings and showings. Not to mention, January is a popular month for relocations, so buyers are motivated and ready to make a quick decision.
We also can’t ignore the fact that anyone willing to brave the Canadian winter weather to go house-hunting has got to be serious!
We’re going to let you know how you can best prepare your house for a sale during the winter months.
Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to making a sale even when it’s cold outside!
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- Clear away snow and ice
- Light up your home
- Make your home warm
- Decorate for the season
- Have a neutral scent in your house
- Consider staging your rooms
- De-clutter and deep clean
- Maintenance and tune-ups
- Keep your floors looking their best
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow – just not on my walkways, please! When selling your home during the winter it’s important to clear any snow and ice off your driveway and walkways.
Don’t forget about your roof. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to remember to clear away any material that could fall from the roof when it melts. Not all homes pose this risk, but if you have over hanging snow, or the potential for snow to fall off the roof (anywhere) take the necessary steps (safely) to ensure this is taken care.
It’s best to shovel a path through the snow that leads from the street and the sidewalk, all the way to your front door. The last thing you want is for potential buyers to remember slipping and stumbling as their first impression of your home or thinking that you don't maintain the property properly.
Throw some ice melt down on the path you’ve created, over your driveway, and on any street areas where visitors might park. This is how you can go the extra mile to create a thoughtful experience for potential buyers and allow them to focus on what's important. You never know who's visiting your home (That may buy it!) don't distract or impede their experience with wet feet, or a slip and fall.
Let there be light, and lots of it! Open up all your curtains and blinds, especially if you have large windows, to let in as much natural light as possible. This will help make your home appear brighter even on the most overcast, cloudy winter days.
During the winter you’ll have a lot less daylight and natural light to work with, so make sure to turn on all the lights in your home too. Utilize mood or decorative lighting, like lamps or flameless candles, wherever you can.
Mirrors are actually a great way to bring more light into a space. Using mirrors will reflect light around the room and make it seem lighter. They also make rooms seem bigger too, bonus! Use light colours for walls. Light colours will help brighten up your home during these cold winter months. When temperatures drop outside, potential buyers are going to want to spend more time inside your home looking at it if they feel warm and comfortable. Darker colours tend to not only feel colder but also make rooms seem smaller than they actually are.
Turn up the heat. During colder months, it's important to make sure your home stays warm. Keep the thermostat at a comfortable level, use space heaters if needed, and keep windows closed as much as possible.
When should you open your windows during the winter? We recommend opening up some windows for about 10 minutes to let some fresh air into the house. This will eliminate any stale, hot, or musky air.
If you have one, you might want to consider lighting up the fireplace before a showing which will not only give off some heat but really create that warm indoor winter ambiance.
Don’t overdo it with the heat though – you want to create a cozy atmosphere, not a sauna! It’s all about finding the right balance. We recommend keeping the temperature between 19-21°C.
Decorating for the season is a great way to make your home feel warm and inviting for winter showings. This will really help your potential buyers visualize themselves living there. You can inspire and excite them by encouraging them to picture the possibilities. You can do this by creating a scene or a vibe that conveys the winter season.
Use seasonal decor to accentuate your home's best features and create a familiar or desirable atmosphere. For example, if you have a stunning dining room table, set it up as if you’re having a dinner party. Drape some warm blankets or decorative throws over the back of the couch or over the arm of a chair. It can be as simple as putting a wreath on your front door or setting up a coffee cup on a saucer next to a book.
However, don't overdo it on the decorations either; too many holiday items can make your space feel cluttered, crowded, or even tacky! Instead of putting up every single piece of holiday décor you own just because, choose only one or two pieces from each category so as not to overwhelm the space – and most importantly… enjoy yourself while doing it!
Scent can be a nostalgic trigger for a log of people, but it can also be a literal trigger. Lots of people have allergies or are very sensitive to smells, so you’ll want to keep this in mind when thinking about scented and cleaning products.
It’s best to keep your home smelling as neutral as possible when selling your home in the winter.
Although it might seem exciting to get to use scents like cinnamon or vanilla for winter showings, those scents are often just too strong.
There are many methods to adding scent to a home, like air fresheners, candles or scented wall plug-ins. If you are going to use these make sure it’s not right before a showing. You want it to feel like the home has a nice natural scent, not a heavy artificial one.
Diffusers can go a long for finding natural organic smells that aren't overwhelming and you can test the power by starting with just a few drops and increasing or decreasing as needed.
It may seem silly, but some buyers DO allow these kind of things to sway their feelings about a property, don't push potential opportunities away by overdoing it in this department.
Set the stage… for a sale! Take things a step further by hiring a professional. Home staging is a great way to sell your home and get top-dollar for it. It can be as simple as re- arranging the existing furniture, or as extensive as building walls and decks to showcase the house's best features.
It's much like a theatrical production in the way it carefully, and sometimes strategically, showcases everything that makes the property a great place to live.
If professional staging is not within the budget, you can always consider using some of these techniques yourself. This can come in handy if you need to downplay certain areas in your home or stage a room that is difficult to show.
If you are going to have winter showings then you’ll want to start on spring cleaning a little early – okay a lot early!
Start by getting rid of any unnecessary clutter in your home. Clear all surfaces from any odds and ends. This could include clearing cups, creams, bottles, or trinkets from your bedside table. Put away any laundry, clothes, toys, or files that might be laying around.
Dust all surfaces, lighting, shelves, and window sills. Polish any hardware and faucets around your home, from the kitchen to the bathroom. Shake out area rugs and vacuum any permanent rug in one direction only.
Take out the recycling and trash every day to keep the home free of any garbage or smells. It’s best to keep everything clean because it’s noticeable and distracting when things look cluttered. A clean and sparkling surface won’t distract buyers, which leaves them open to imagining themselves living comfortably in your home.
It’s all about the winter vibe, and this means keeping up with winter maintenance too.
Check the furnace and water heater. Check the roof for damage and clear the gutters. Check the furnace filters, clean them if they're dirty, and replace them if they need to be replaced. Consider getting your HVAC system inspected and cleaned.
The last thing you want is for something to go wrong right before a showing, like losing heat the day before a potential buyer wants to come in.
Go around the house and check all windows and doors for drafts. You might need to use caulking or weather stripping to seal them up.
The best part about putting in all of this maintenance work beforehand is that you will know if there are any things you need to address that would be caught during your home inspection if you do end up getting an offer.
Salt, slush, and snow… flooring's worst nightmare.
When holding winter showings, you’ll want to make sure that floors stay clean and streak free. What’s the easiest way you can do this? Lay down a mat inside and outside all entrances.
Often times asking people to take off their shoes just doesn’t cut it. You can still be left with wet puddles where your visitor's boots used to be. Putting down a mat keeps all the water and salt contained, which you can easily clean up after each showing if needed.
If you want to take it a step further, you could provide shoe covers for visitors. Shoe covers don't just keep the dirt off the floors, they also protect the finish of wooden floors. Plus, it's a great
way to make sure that everyone who comes into your home respects your space and leaves no trace behind them.
Consider providing coat hooks and areas for wet outdoor clothing and shoes. If you have a coat closet by the front door, that’s perfect! Another option would be to hang hooks or shelves near entryways so guests can put away their jackets/hats/gloves after taking off their footwear.
Now get out there and sell!
We hope you’ve found these tips helpful and easy to follow. As you can see, there are many things you need to do when getting ready to sell your home during the winter.
Make your home feel warm, cozy and welcoming. If potential buyers can't see themselves living in the space it's less likely that they'll make an offer on it!
The effort that you put in will help ensure the best possible outcome, and increase your chances of making a quick sale. With any luck, those who view your home will have no idea just how much time and effort you put into it.
The end result? A beautiful, spotless, home that is ready for buyers to schedule the showing of their dreams.
Thinking about selling your home? Whether its the winter months or the hot summer market, our team is equipped to take your listing to the next level. Full time staff including videographer, editor, professional photographer, and image editor, content writer, aerial pilot and much more, it's why we were able to help over 500 families in 2022 achieve their real estate goals.