The conditions for selling your home in the winter months in Western Washington are much different than those of summer. The dark, grey days can cause sellers to become complacent about preparing for showings. Also, sellers should expect less frequent showings due to the reluctance of buyers who are less interested when the weather is bad. Buyers, however, who are actively looking, are likely to be highly motivated to find a home to purchase.
One advantage of having your home on the market during the winter months is that there will be fewer homes competing for buyers during that time.
Here are a few tips to help sellers insure that they don’t miss out on an opportunity to make a sale.
Outside the home
Insure the parking area and walkway to the front door is clear and doesn’t present any obstacle to entry. The entrance should be welcoming and well lit. Maintenance of the front yard and landscaping should be tidy and neat. The appearance of the front of the house sets the tone for the showing and the first impression of the property is a major influence in the buying decision. If possible, add some color with winter plants.
Inside the home
The decision to purchase a home is often made within the first minute of entering the home. It is not spoken, but is an emotional response to the home. Here are some ideas of how to appeal to those emotions.
Let there be light. Turn on as many lights inside and out as possible. They don’t have to be bright and should provide a “homey feel”.
Turn the heat up to a minimum of 70 degrees. Light a fire in the fireplace. Nothing turns off buyers more than a cold house.
Insure that there are no offensive odors. In wintertime, pet and cooking smells tend to be trapped in the house as there is less ventilation. Don’t, however, attempt to mask odors with fragrance. Pet odors are especially noticeable to buyers who are not pet owners.
Clean the windows as dirty windows are very noticeable during winter.
Turn off the television and turn on soft music instead.
Treat every showing appointment as if the ultimate buyer will be the one who sees the home next.
These and other suggestions will be made as part of your staging discussion prior to photographing your home.