The power of the internet combined with low housing inventory and record low-interest rates has kept the real estate market strong the past few years, and 2020 is off to the same start. We may have to wait until Spring for the ground to thaw, but today’s winter selling market is warmer than ever.
According to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales climbed 3.6% in December over the previous year and 43% of homes sold in December were on the market for less than a month. With buyers entering the market sooner, listing your home in the winter is no longer the gamble that it used to be.
When you decide to list before the snow melts here are our top tips for marketing your home to winter buyers.
Tips To Market Your Home To Winter Buyers
Curb Appeal Matters
When flowers aren’t in bloom and the ground is covered in brown grass and snow, it may feel like curb appeal is a little bit of a lost cause. This, however, is not the case. Even in the winter, there are still ways to make sure your buyers have the best possible first impression upon driving up to your house.
The most obvious exterior maintenance tips include shoveling and de-icing your driveway and approach. If buyers have to trudge through the snow to get to your front door you are making it hard for them to warm up to your home. They will also track mud and snow into the interior entryway of your home. Especially when homes are vacant make sure to hire someone dependable to shovel driveways and sidewalks.
If snow hasn’t fallen yet, make sure to rake leaves and sticks out of flower beds and yard, and keep the approach free of mud and debris. Remove planters with dead plants from porches and walkways, and make sure exterior light fixtures and windows are clean and properly lit.
If it’s the Holiday season, simple exterior decorating will increase curb appeal. A red bow, a wreath, or a welcoming entryway sign may give the pop of color and cheer that your home needs to jump out to buyers upon first sight…but keep it neat and simple. Don’t go overboard with lights or lawn ornaments that may be too distracting to potential buyers. There is nothing appealing about a “Happy Holidays” welcome mat once February has arrived!
“Coziness” Cannot Be overstated.
In a place like Michigan, the winters often (seemingly) last 9 months of the year, the comfort and “coziness” of your home will play a big factor in its marketability.
One of the easiest and most important ways this can be done is to keep the house warm for showings. If you don’t want to keep the furnace running all the time in a vacant house, you may consider upgrading to a smart thermostat, like a Nest, which allows you to turn the heat up before a showing no matter where you are. A smart thermostat is not only an appealing tech feature, but it allows you to save money on heat while making sure your home is comfortable come showing time.
Coziness is as much about smells as it is appearance. Use wax burners to make your home smell festive and seasonal. Consider baking before guests arrive and play soft music in the background, especially if your home has a surround-sound feature that you’d like buyers to take note of.
If you are going for scents, don’t use anything overpowering. Many people have allergies to aerosols and strong fruit/flowery scents are polarizing and sometimes a bit overpowering. Keep the scents seasonal and subtle and it will add to the appealing ambiance you are trying to create in your home overall.
Don’t Overlook Your Fireplace
If you have a fireplace, make sure it is in tip-top shape and truly in eye-catching condition. In many homes, a fireplace is the central decorative feature in a family/great room. In a state like Michigan, it is often a feature prospective buyers are looking for specifically when they are out home shopping. Keep the hearth clean, simple, decorative and…of course, cozy!
Allow your fireplace to make the statement it was always meant to make as a centerpiece of your home by arranging furniture around it and tastefully decorating the mantle. Maybe even have a fire lit during showings.
Ample Light Is A Must!
During a long Michigan winter, lighting can be an important factor in marketing your home property to prospective buyers. Upgrade bulbs to higher wattages and make sure they are uniform in color, wattage, and appearance in each room. Add extra (matching) table lamps, and turn them on for showings to provide warm, subtle light in family rooms and bedrooms, and make sure curtains are open and clean bringing in as much natural light as possible.
If you live in the home you are selling, it will be easier to make sure that lights are on for showings, but if not consider asking your realtor to go out to the house ahead of showings to turn lights on for you. For more fall/winter lighting tips check out our comprehensive guide to making the most of the lighting in your home
Holiday Decorations Are Great… In Moderation.
If you are listing your home before or during the holiday season, try and keep decor neutral. While it is great to decorate for the holidays in a festive way, too much personality can lower the marketability of your property. “Some examples of neutral-style festive décor include white strand lights, live garland, bells, candles, and white or ecru-colored stockings.”
Pops of seasonal colors in trees, wreaths, and wall decorations can provide a cozy holiday feel, but large, ornate, or very specific holiday decorations may make the house feel cluttered and too eclectic for some buyers’ tastes. Even though buyers aren’t buying your sense of style, the feeling your home creates for them is something that will linger as they compare your home to others they’ve seen on the market.
Selling your home in the winter can seem daunting, but if you keep your home clean and in good condition, you should have no problem getting your home sold in our hot seller’s market.
An experienced real estate agent will know how to put your home above the competition and how to market to the wintertime buyers. For more tips on how to put your home ahead of the competition this winter, contact us, or fill out the property information form below to receive a free no-obligation property evaluation of your home.
Source – Ruoff Mortgage: https://blog.ruoff.com/tips-for-selling-your-home-in-the-winter
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