Jeff Duneske, Associate Broker at Remerica United Realty in Novi offers these 10 tips if you are selling your home this winter in Metro Detroit.
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Let those lights shine
The best way to combat winter's short and frequently cloudy days is to turn on your house lights. For a showing, every single light in the house must be on, even in the closets and utility/mechanical rooms. Also opening the drapes and blinds during the day to let in light and let visitors enjoy the view.
It's vital that buyers have a convenient place to park. They won't want to walk very far in cold weather or be forced to climb over a snow bank to exit their vehicle. Because parking is often more restricted around condominiums, sellers should make sure their agent can pass along parking details to buyers. Winter showings can get off to a bad start if prospective buyers arrive with snow or salt on their shoes.
Keep Odors Under Control
Any home tends to be stuffy in winter when windows are opened rarely. That can allow odors to build up, which can be a turn-off to buyers. If pets are in the house, consider setting the thermostat control so that the furnace fan runs constantly during the day to keep air moving through the house and dissipate odors. Also try to avoid strong cooking odors, especially if a showing is scheduled that day.
The No. 1 favorite? Chocolate-chip cookies. Just about everybody likes that smell. Other popular scents: cinnamon rolls, freshly baked bread, apple pie, apple cider or anything with vanilla, cinnamon or yeast.
Protect your investment
Some home owners will ask buyers to either remove shoes or slip on paper "booties" over their footwear before touring the house. Many buyers like that since it indicates a pride of ownership that resonates with buyers.
Don't Ignore the OutdoorsMake a good first impression on buyers with a neatly maintained yard. Walks and steps should be kept clear, especially of snow and ice.
Choose Your Exterior Photos of Your Home WiselyI always ask home owners that I meet with during the Winter months if they have exterior pictures of their home that were taken during the Summer or Spring Months when the flowers are in full bloom and the grass is green. Buyers shop with their eyes and even though homes can look beautiful with snow and ice, nothing is more inviting then a colorful photo.
Don't Roast BuyersWe all tend to prefer a specific temperature for our homes during the winter, but don't blast buyers with hot air. Keep the temperature at a comfortable 65 degrees for all showings. Remember, buyers are likely to be wearing their coats even as they walk through the house.
Keep Seasonal Clothing under ControlOne major challenge of selling a home during the winter months is the overabundance of cold weather gear that must be stored. A buyer doesn't want to find the mudroom filled with boots or the hall closet overflowing with heavy coats. Shift some winter coats to another closet and put anything not needed in the closet into storage. To keep gloves and scarves from piling up in the front hall or mudroom, put a special container for them, such as a decorative chest, where the family typically enters the home.
Encourage Day Time Showings If Possible
A home shows to its best advantage during daylight hours, which are relatively scarce in winter. It is a good idea to also put a lot of your lights on timers throughout the home too. Sometimes you can't always make it home for early evening appointments and you don't want home buyers walking into a home that is dark. Regardless of day or evening showings, turn on as many lights as possible in your home, even closets. Let your home glow!
Despite the special challenges of marketing a home during winter, there also are benefits. Home Buyers are out looking at homes in December, January and February are, as a group, quite serious about buying. Therefore, sellers tend to benefit because each showing is more productive, and fewer showings are needed to sell the property.