Showings and open houses are a critical component of any house sale. No matter what season, your real estate agent needs to get potential buyers into your home, whether for cattle-call-style open houses on the weekends, or private showings throughout the week with interested buyers.
Prepping for an open house has its own to-do list, but there are some tips that are specific to wintertime showings. The weather is usually challenging, to put it gently. It's wet and cold, and people are not comfortable leaving their warm, comfortable homes to walk around bundled in big wet coats, hats, and scarves. So if you want to sell your home when it's cold outside, you are going to want to make their home tour experience as pleasant as possible.
Slip or sale?
If snow is on the ground, pick up that snow shovel and start plowing through the white stuff. You want to make sure all the walkways from the street and your driveway to the front door are cleared of snow. (Remember to de-ice slippery areas as well.) Nothing ruins a home tour experience for a buyer like a slip and fall into a snow mound on her way in.
Create a landing area
If you have an outdoor front porch, keep it cleared of snow and ice and as dry as possible. Be sure you have a rug or mat near the door for home shoppers to wipe their feet, an umbrella stand for those drippy umbrellas, a coat rack of some kind where they can drop bulky jackets and scarfs, and maybe a few pairs of (new) bedroom slippers for those who want to step out of their soggy shoes.
Not too hot, not too cold
Make sure the heat is on and the house is just the right temperature. The front door will be opening and closing throughout the day, so you will want to allow for that continued loss of heat.
With the holidays approaching, you don't want to overdo the decorations. Keep them minimal and tasteful. The blowup Santa on the roof will be nothing but a distraction to buyers, and a 10-foot Christmas tree crammed into a 9.5-foot living room is only going to make your interior rooms look puny.
Find the light
Winter's shorter days are frequently cloudy, too. So it is extremely important you bring in and turn on as much light as possible. Bright and airy is always more appealing to a buyer than dark and stuffy. Even though you may not be able to have the windows open, you can certainly make sure they are sparkling clean and all the drapes are pulled back.
Depersonalize your home
No matter if it's winter, spring, or fall, I guarantee there is far too much of "you" in your house. Prior to any open house, depersonalize your home. Get rid of what you're not using, then edit and organize the rest.
Start in one room and systematically go through every drawer, every closet, and every shelf. Zero in on collectibles, family heirlooms, memorabilia, and other little bits of your life that are sprinkled throughout your home. When it comes to getting more money for the sale of your home ... less stuff is key!
Send Fido on a holiday
Pets are a very personal part of your home, and your goal is to depersonalize your space and make it comfortable for buyers. You wouldn't leave your uncle Frank sitting in a rocker in the living room while buyers wander through the house, so why would you leave your pets running rampant? After all, they are family members, too!
So make a plan -- because in the colder weather, you'll need to find a warm, safe place for pets to hang while buyers check out your home.
Give them a hot one
Borrow your aunt Louise's slow cooker and have a nice setup for spiced cranberry- apple cider. Another plus: It smells wonderful and can really light up the senses of everyone who comes into your home. It's not a bad thing for your cold, thirsty buyers to linger in the kitchen and take five more minutes. Who knows? That warming reprieve might just give them a taste of their new home.