10 tips for selling your home in cold weather

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In the past, selling a home during the winter “off season” was traditionally more difficult than going to the market in the spring or summer. Sellers who had not carefully prepared and staged their property could find the house on the market for months without any offers.

“If you didn’t do these things seven years ago, your registration would likely expire,” said Roger Lundy, former president of MIBOR and current chairman of the board of the Indiana Association of Realtors. “Now you can still get a showing, but you probably won’t get the best price. “

Today’s market is a little more forgiving. In fact, it’s a bit more forgiving, with a general shortage of properties raising both interest and prices. As Lundy said, the market this winter will likely go from “warm white” to just “warm red”. Which means that your property will always be sold, whether you do everything in your power to maximize its attractiveness or not.

But if you want to get the best price and the fastest deal, there are still a lot of things you need to do to make an off-season ad stand out.

(Illustration IBJ / Brad Turner)

Start preparing the ground while it is still warm outside.

Now is the time to ask your agent, or maybe a professional director, to take a look around and point out all the work that needs to be done to get the place up and running. . It’s also a good time, before it gets brutally cold, to take care of any exterior projects, as well as any smelly, smoldering interior upgrades (such as finishing the floor or painting the room. ) which could be accomplished much more comfortably with the windows open.

“On average, salespeople earn at least two
improvements before you sell, ”said Amanda Pendleton, home trends expert for the Zillow online real estate market. “Painting and landscaping are the most common. Prioritize projects like exterior painting, roof repairs, and gutter cleaning, which are easier to do in dry, mild weather. Tackling it now will ensure that your home will show up well during the winter.

Check your edge call.

Granted, it’s winter, which means the lawn is brown, the flower beds are dead, and your precious silver maple is nothing but a growl of bare, crooked branches. However, you can always frame the exterior in the best possible light. If it’s around Halloween / Thanksgiving, a few decorative (fresh) pumpkins clustered in the front can help. And consider brightening up the porch with evergreen fronds.

“I tell customers to pick up Alberta spruce trees from Lowe’s clearance and put them in jars near the front door,” said Chris Hollins, real estate agent and owner of Indy Home Staging Service. “Or you can buy some greenery at Costco and put it outside. And if it needs a little something, you can put little white twinkling lights on it. Keep it minimal, but it will still help with curb appeal. “

Also collect dead leaves from the lawn. And because the lack of foundation planting can expose many hidden ailments, make sure the exterior paint, siding, and masonry are all in pristine condition.

Make it easy to view your home.

According to Realtor.com, potential buyers may find it difficult to schedule a home visit during the peak holiday season. So if you want to stand out from the crowd, make sure you are available at all times for a guided tour. Hollins advises clients to list a hotel during their home’s first long weekend, in order to maximize the number of visits from interested buyers.

“The more availability you offer to buyers, the more buyers you can attract to your home and the more likely you are to receive offers,” he said. “And that’s what we really want.”

(Illustration IBJ / Brad Turner)

Clear the snow.

There’s not much you can do about a 6 inch snowfall that hits the night before a showing. However, you or your agent must ensure that your driveway, sidewalks and driveway are entirely cleared of flakes before the arrival of the first potential buyers. This not only makes the house more welcoming, but also prevents the possibility of legal action from someone fading away on your icy steps.

And while you’re at it, keep the snow (and rain and mud) outside by providing plenty of mats where muddy shoes and boots can be put aside.

“In high-end homes, we’ve gone so far as to install plastic sliders,” Hollins said. He added that there was no need to worry about asking visitors to take off their shoes. It’s a sellers’ market, so they must be liked you. “People have recording devices in their homes these days, and you don’t want to be the potential buyer stalking mud all over the place,” Hollins said.

Holiday decorations are acceptable for open houses, but not so much for online sites.

If it’s December, your home’s hallway patio can both invoke a festive and uplifting vibe and help low-energy problematic areas be seen in the best possible light. And a little holiday music might be just what it takes to lighten the mood (and muffle the sound of the neighbor’s constantly barking dog).

Just do it tastefully. Think of the cool evergreen fronds above the fireplace, but not the giant inflatable snowman on the lawn.

And no matter how beautiful your Christmas items are, don’t have your home photographed for an e-commerce site while it’s still decorated with seasonal items. These photos look cheerful and cheerful right now, but they will look sad and hopeless in January.

“If you take a picture of your front door today and there’s a pumpkin there, what will it look like in February?” Said Holly Meyers, owner of Gray Staging and Design. “If you have a Christmas tree in your photos online, they’re going to ask you why the house isn’t selling. “

Make the cold work for you using winter-specific features.

“Comfortable features like fireplaces, heated floors and a winterized garage are a priority for winter shoppers,” said Pendleton of Zillow. “Make sure you highlight these features in your ad photos and your ad description. Zillow’s research shows that homes with the keyword “underfloor heating or radiant heat” in the ad description may sell for 3.2% more than expected. Likewise, homes that mention “gas furnace” may experience a price increase of 1.1% and move nearly three days faster than expected.

During the colder months, Hollins said, he likes to focus on indoor gathering places, such as media rooms and lower-level game rooms.

Keep the place warm.

Raise the thermostat until the house is warm and free from cold spots. And if you have a fireplace, turn it on to enhance the ambiance of the house and add to the feeling of coziness. “If there’s a gas fireplace, we’ll turn it on,” Hollins said. “I even light the fireplaces in the summer.”

Keep the place bright.

Just because it’s dark and brooding outside doesn’t mean it should be inside. Make sure every wall and corner has plenty of bright lighting.

“When you have shorter light periods, a lot of your screenings are in the evening,” Lundy said. “It starts to get dark by this time, so it is very important for the salesperson to turn on every lamp in every room and closet. You don’t want someone digging through your dark house without seeing how amazing it is.

This is just as important for the photos you post online. Bright, well-lit images simply look better. If the photos online of your home look dark and intimidating, a considerable portion of viewers will cross it off their lists.

(Illustration IBJ / Brad Turner)

Make it smell good.

Fortunately, there are many “winter” scents that can be infused throughout the home. So go for some scented candles in the spring or buy one (or two) aromatherapy diffusers and load them up with one of winter’s biggest scent hits.

“Warm smells like vanilla, apple pie and cinnamon work best in the winter,” Pendleton said.

Hollins, however, said that you can easily overdo it by making your home smell like the mall’s candle store. Which can be a dangerous game. “Most people think you are trying to hide something,” he said. Since a house that is closed for a few winter months inevitably develops a certain clump of mold, Hollins said, if there is any doubt, it’s probably worth bringing in professional cleaners the night before. an open day.

Finally, don’t be afraid to take the “nice smells” motif to its logical, albeit somewhat overused, conclusion. “It never hurts to have fresh cookies or even hot apple cider on an open house,” added Pendleton.

Remember, when the weather turns bad, most people don’t want to go out more than you.

In the old days, the only way to find a new home was to visit a group of candidates, regardless of the weather. These days, however, most people start their research online.

“The curb appeal online is the new curb appeal because an overwhelming majority of home buyers start their home search online,” Pendleton said. “During the winter months, fewer home buyers are inclined to spend cold weekends visiting homes. With that in mind, make sure your agent uses good photography, videography, and / or drone photography for your online presence. Zillow research also reveals that ads with a 3D home visit get 30% more views.

Lundy has seen the same sort of thing and insists on high quality photography for his high value ads. It tells the story of a particular house that was initially rejected by its prospective buyers because of the lackluster photos. The house was taken off the market and then returned with high quality images. The same people who rejected it the first time bought it in the second round.

“It’s the power of good photography,” Lundy said. “That’s why nothing drives me crazier than seeing a picture of a house with a finger on the picture, and it was taken with a cell phone. “•


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