7 ways to prepare for a winter sale
When selling in winter, without the benefit of warmer weather and more natural light to help bring out a property’s best features, it’s even more important to make sure your home is looking its best and stands out from the crowd. Here are several ways you can ensure your home is properly prepared for a successful winter sale.
First things first, temperature
If you’re setting up your home for an open inspection in winter, there is no escaping the fact it is cold outside so the first thing to consider is your home’s temperature. Make a good first impression on buyers and help them feel instantly welcomed by ensuring your house is nice and warm. If you are lucky enough to have a wood-burning stove or fireplace now is the time to put it to good use.
Remember though that most people will be in winter coats so don’t overdo it – you should be aiming for comfortably warm rather than oven-like conditions.
Let there be light
With the sun lower in the sky at this time of year, the natural light in your house may be different or even less than in other seasons. Pay particular attention to the times of the day when it gets the best natural light and consider setting your inspection times accordingly.
Look carefully at the current lighting situation in your home, is it bright enough? You really don’t want any areas or rooms to appear gloomy as this can be a major turn off for buyers. If your home doesn’t benefit from a lot of natural light at this time of year, consider swapping globes for brighter ones, adding in extra lamps, or even using candles to create a more natural lighting look.
If you are lucky enough to be selling a home that is north facing and gets tonnes of light, make sure you have cleaned your windows so the light shining through is really putting on a show.
Make buyers feel warm and fuzzy
Everybody loves feeling warm and cosy in winter, so make sure your home’s interior reflects this at the open for inspection. The best way to do this is by layering textures and fabrics that will help trap heat. For floor coverings think plush floor rugs, while the use of extra cushions, blankets and throws in wool or faux fur can ramp up the cosiness factor in living areas and bedrooms.
It’s also a good idea to think about using winter colours – choosing warm tones for any soft furnishings or general décor you are bringing into the home.
Properties with wood-burning stoves or fireplaces come into their own at this time of year so if your home boasts either of these, make sure it is lit and gently burning in time for the open.
Don’t overlook the outside
Buyers don’t expect lush green lawns and gardens in full bloom at this time of year, but they do expect well-maintained outdoor areas and backyards, both of which can also add value to your home on sale day.
Enlist household members or the services of a professional gardener to undertake a big backyard clean up –making sure everything is neatly trimmed and mulched, as well as raking up leaves and other debris.
After all the rain some areas have had this year, mould, algae and lichen may have taken hold in the shadier parts of your garden or paved outdoor spaces – pay particular attention to these. You may need specialist products and a pressure washer to get some areas clean so don’t leave this job to the last minute.
If you have an outdoor entertaining area consider setting it up with plush rugs, throws or cushions on outdoor furniture to give off the appeal of a cosy winter dining area. If you have one, placing a fire pit or chimenea nearby also helps buyers see it as a valuable all-seasons entertaining space.
Maximise curb appeal
During winter inspections buyers might make a beeline inside out of the cold but they will still be paying close attention to a home’s exterior. Take a good look at the outside of your property – does it help buyers get excited about what's inside? A deep clean of the exterior can work wonders here—washing down paintwork, dusting off cobwebs and polishing window panes. Consider investing in professional house washing if you’re time-poor and the budget will stretch to it.
Pay particular attention to the front door area—the first area buyers will see—ensuring it is spick and span. If it’s looking a bit tired, try sprucing things up with new house numbers, pot plants, outdoor lighting fixtures, or even a new doormat. A fresh coat of paint or stain can also go a long way to creating a strong first impression.
Clean, declutter and deodorise
Like when selling at any time of year it’s a no-brainer to clean and de-clutter your house. This maximises its appeal to potential buyers and helps them better picture themselves living in the space.
It might be a cold and uninviting space at this time of year but potential buyers will still want to check out the garage. Keep it as clean and clutter-free as the rest of your home – moving bulky items to off-site storage and tidying any remaining items as neatly as possible.
Don’t forget about odours. Food, pets, and people all create odours that it’s all too easy to become accustomed to. Keep on top of odours by cleaning and airing your home more regularly than normal during the sale campaign.
Fragrances and candles are fine but remember, less is more. Too many perfumed aromas and buyers may start to think you’re hiding something.
Bring some greenery in
The leaves might have fallen but bringing some greenery into your open for inspection, such as a vase of fresh flowers, is a great idea as they will look and smell fantastic. You might also like to add more foliage in the form of succulents or other plants, but just make sure it’s all in keeping with the warm, winter vibe you’re creating in the home.
The best tip for preparing to sell in winter, or any time of year, is using a seasoned agent. Our agents know the ins and outs of selling property and can equip you with the knowledge you need to capitalise on the market. Find a Hockingstuart agent near you.
For more advice on selling in winter, see our blog 8 reasons to sell in winter.