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Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Spring is the best time to sell your home, right?  Perhaps, but consider this -- buyers out looking at homes in December or January are generally more serious about buying.  As a seller, you benefit for two reasons:
  1. A general lack of competition (inventory)
  2. Each showing is more productive leading to fewer showings necessary to sell your home
To maximize your efforts . . .

Let Your Lights Shine:  For a showing, every single light in the house must be on, even in the ones you may not think are important, such as closets, utility and laundry rooms.  Make sure all bulbs are working and replace them immediately when they burn out. 

Keep your outside lights on as well.  This is an open-arms welcome for showings and even when you don’t have a showing scheduled, it helps people driving or walking by see that your house is for sale.

During these shorter days with limited daylight and snow and clouds, keep your curtains and blinds open to capture every ounce of natural light.

Set up timers You want your home to look warm and welcoming whenever prospective buyers drive past.  But you're not home all the time, so put indoor and outdoor lights on timers.  

Get the windows washed:  As soon as the weather is too chilly to open the windows, remove (and store) your screens and get your windows washed.  This will bring the outside in by enhancing your homes natural light, and, in winter, that strong southern light can reveal grime and make it look like the home hasn't been well-maintained.
Provide Convenient Parking:  It’s vital that buyers have a convenient place to park. Keep your driveway and front of your house free from snow and ice.  This, too is part of the “welcome mat.”  A buyer takes 8 seconds to form an impression about your house.  You only get one chance to make a first impression, and you want it to be a good one. Don’t make buyers climb over a snow bank when they exit their vehicle or walk a long way in cold weather.

Make It Easy to Enter:  Make it easy for buyers to deal with their snow and salt covered shoes when they arrive.  Put an attractive area rug at the front door for wiping and placement of shoes.  Space allowing, place a chair or bench to sit on to make it easy for buyers to remove their shoes or put disposable booties on.

Keep Odors Under Control:  Homes tend to be stuffy in winter and this allows odors to build up. Pet odors and strong cooking odors are a challenge this time a year when the windows are shut and rarely, if ever, opened.  Room deodorizers or burning candles are perfectly acceptable, but they should be subtle and in the background.  The best tact is to keep the house clean, change the cat litter daily, avoid strong cooking odors or even use an air purifier.  Consider setting your thermostat so that the furnace fan runs constantly during the day to keep air moving throughout the house to dissipate odors.

Cultivate a Festive Look:  Holiday decorations can help sell a home, but don’t go overboard.  Remember, less is more.    You want potential buyers to focus on the features and attributes of your home.  Decorations should be an enhancement and not a distraction.  When a buyer starts mentally placing their furniture, you’ve had a good showing!

Don’t Ignore the Outdoors:  Make a good first impression on buyers with a neatly maintained yard. Walks and steps should be kept clear, especially of snow and ice.  Take a look at the outside of your home and if there is not enough illumination to make it inviting, either change your fixtures or have new ones added.

Set a Comfortable Temperature:  We all tend to prefer a specific temperature for our homes during the winter, but don’t blast buyers with hot air.  Remember, buyers will be wearing their coats even as they walk through the house. 

Keep Seasonal Clothing under Control:  A major challenge of selling a home during the winter months is the overabundance of cold weather gear that must be stored.  Buyers don’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 into storage.

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