As the last of the leaves fall and the days are getting shorter and colder, homeowners, who either have their homes listed already or are considering listing, become concerned about fewer sale opportunities. Having your home on the market in the summer and early fall is, of course, easier — everything is more aesthetically pleasing…lush grass and foliage, flowers blooming in the gardens, planters and window boxes planted, no leaves to rake or walkways to shovel. In the greater Saint John area, however, homes sell in all seasons, not just the prettiest ones! In order to get top dollar for your home, it has to be presented in the best possible light; and this does become increasingly important as the colder weather sets in. Take some extra care in preparing your home for showings, and the winter weather shouldn’t impact your ability to sell in a timely manner and for the best price possible. So in addition to the usual tips for preparing your home for sale, what should you focus on for colder-weather showings?
A clear and safe path to your entrance: First and foremost, make sure you have your walkways and entryways shoveled, as well as salted and sanded. The last thing you want is a potential buyer wading through snow to get to your door — or even worse, taking a fall on the ice. If you have to hire someone to do this, it is well worth the cost.
Neat and tidy lawns and gardens: Before the snow flies, do a thorough fall clean up. Unraked leaves and unkempt gardens do not make a positive first impression on potential buyers, and in their eyes can be a negative indicator of how you have maintained your home overall.
Eavestroughs cleared and downspouts extended: To help prevent ice jams and water issues, ensure you clear your eavestroughs of leaves and debris and install downspout extenders to direct water away from your house foundation.
Heat on: Before showings, ensure the heat is on to create a comfortable and inviting welcome for potential buyers. Although we’re all concerned with minimizing our heating bills, the time to worry about that is not when you have a showing.
Schedule daytime showings…when possible: It goes without saying that daylight hours are the optimum time for showings. That said, if the only time that works for a potential buyer is the evening, ensure that you have lights on for the showing (inside and outside). Some lamplight in a room is particularly inviting.
Go easy on holiday decorations: In a previous article, I emphasized the importance of clearing clutter before showings. This includes having too many holiday decorations. Although some decorations can be festive and welcoming, they can also overwhelm a space and distract a potential buyer from key features of your home.
Create a warm, inviting atmosphere: Consider adding a cozy throw to your sofa and perhaps turning on your propane fireplace just before a showing. Add a berry wreath to your front door and planters or urns with fresh greenery to your entryway…maybe even bake a gingerbread cake or cookies before a showing to fill your home with the scent of fresh baking.
Don’t fear the winter months approaching — just create a safe, warm, and inviting atmosphere at your home; and remember that in Southern New Brunswick, we are fortunate to have many bright, sunny days during our winter months!
By: Mary Ann Ketchum