Appealing to Winter’s Market

Walkway with Snow leading to HomeTrying to sell your home in the winter can be intimidating. With less people out and about, falling temperatures, reduced curb appeal and the ever-threatening harsh weather, it can be a challenge to feel confident in listing your home in January. But as Terri Bass – the No. 1 sales associate at Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty – confirms, it doesn’t have to be so scary.

“I think a lot of people are reluctant to put their home on the market this time of year even though they might be motivated to do so due to a transfer, the need to sell for a parent, the need to downsize or something like that,” Bass affirms. “But one of the things to consider that a lot of people don’t think about is that while the first quarter of the year, we do have a little bit of downturn in sales, it’s not huge, and, in fact, at Lenihan Sotheby’s last year, we had a very strong first quarter. So there are people out there looking and the inventory is lower. And when the inventory is lower, that means a better inventory for the seller.”

It’s a seller’s market this time of year, and even though your home may not naturally look as appealing in the harsh January and February months as it does in warmer times of year, there are several easy things you can do to make your home look cozy and inviting while capitalizing on the advantage of the market.

Terri Bass. COURTESY PHOTO

Terri Bass. COURTESY PHOTO

“A home definitely presents better in the spring, so what you want to do to try to overcome that is maximize the light in your home,” Bass emphasizes. “If possible, ask your agent to schedule showings around times when you have sun on the home. Keep your drapes open. If you have a fireplace, make sure to get that lit before people come in. Make it cozy! Have candles lit. And for goodness’ sake, make sure the home is warm!”

Indeed, if you have already moved, you may think it wise to turn off the heat in your home or at least turn it very low. But for prospective buyers, the last thing they want while looking at a possible home is to be cold and uncomfortable while doing so. So make sure, if you’re not there, that your agent bumps it up to at least 68 degrees 30 minutes before a showing. And, of course, make sure the house is show-ready.

“Emphasize areas that are indoor entertaining spaces,” Bass suggests. “Have the tables set in a cozy area with the fireplace on in the dining room. If you have a great workout room, then have some candles in there. Or if you have a theater room, put some cozy throws on the sofas so that people think, ‘Oh this house lives well – in the winter, it will be great just like in the spring or summer.”

And that’s just the interior. With inclement winter weather always a possibility, quick action is critical to make your home not only welcoming and inviting but also easily accessible for visitors.

“Make sure the entry is clear with no ice for people to fall on,” Bass warns. “And make sure there’s plenty of places to park. It really is worth spending a little bit of money, if you can’t do it, to have a lawn maintenance crew come in and shovel all that off your driveway and entryway. And also think about having some planters with greenery in them at your entryway. Make it look welcoming. Avoid it looking like the dead of winter by featuring some greenery and some holly stuck in a planter. And do the same thing out back! Don’t cover up your furniture; leave it uncovered.”

Evidently, making your home appealing in the winter really isn’t as hard as it seems. With a little planning and a bit of creativity, you can have your home looking as enviable as always in any and every season. VT