Guest post by Suzie Wilson
Statistically speaking, the best time of year to sell a house is the first half of May. Many people take this information to mean that this is the only time in which you can sell a house quickly and at a good price—but that is entirely false. There are actually many advantages to selling in the off-season. To increase the number of potential buyers interested in your home, follow these tips and strategies on preparing your home for a winter sale.
Create a Winter Garden
When you think “curb appeal,” you probably imagine bright flower beds and decorative shrubbery, which are not necessarily an option during the winter. Or are they? A winter flower garden can look make your home look gorgeous, and there are many lovely shrubs that thrive in cold weather, such as witch hazel, holly, and Japanese pieris.
…But Don’t Stop There
Curb appeal is about a lot more than plants. There are plenty of small ways to make a great first impression, from festive door decorations to seasonal art. Don’t be afraid to get creative, but make sure you aren’t covering everything in decorations. After all, it’s the house itself that buyers are interested in, so you don’t want to create too many distractions.
Take Care of the Winter Maintenance
One of the biggest downsides of selling your home in the winter is that buyers will get a chance to see it when it’s most vulnerable to the elements. Many houses, especially older ones, experience winter-related issues, whether it be blocked gutters, broken boilers, or frozen pipes. Before you start viewings, go through this basic home maintenance checklist by The Family Handyman. It will help to ensure buyers don’t discover any unpleasant surprises.
Put the Festive Knickknacks Away
The holidays are usually a time for over-the-top decorations, knickknacks, and trinkets. But it’s important that you resist the temptation to do this if you’re selling a house. One of the basics of staging is to make the house look uncluttered and neutral—and that just isn’t possible with a dozen handmade Christmas decorations on the mantelpiece.
In your attempts to make the house seem “neutral,” remember that not everyone will celebrate the holidays in the same way—or at all. Prominent Christmas or Hanukkah decorations may be a family tradition, but they can be distracting to some buyers. This article by The Balance has some great advice for compromising on the festive decor without completely neglecting your holiday cheer.
Let There Be Light
Winter can be dark and gloomy, so your home should be bright and cheerful. When prospective buyers come to see the house, make sure every room is fully lit and that all exterior lights are on. It’s also a good idea to take some time to consider the best lighting for every room in the house in order to create the right ambiance for visitors.
Up Your Open-House Game
If you’re hosting an open house, this is your chance to make your home feel like the coziest, most comforting place on earth. Some great ideas for achieving this include serving hot cocoa, shoveling the sidewalk, and making sure the house is nice and toasty.
Selling your home is complicated, no matter when you do it. The main downside to doing it in the winter is that you will be adding the stress of selling a home to any existing holiday stress. If this feels difficult for you, you could simply delay the sale until January. This way you have all the advantages of selling in the off-season without the anxieties of having a home up for sale during the festive season. However, if the months of November and December are a more relaxed affair in your home, there is no reason to delay!
Suzie Wilson is an interior designer with more than 20 years experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. While her goal always includes making homes look beautiful, her true focus is on fashioning them into serene, stress-free environments that inspire tranquility in all who enter. The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House is filled with tips, tricks and other advice based on Suzie’s years of experience in interior home design that will set you up for success.