It's very true that the majority of homeowners list in the spring, but it certainly doesn't mean it's a disadvantage to list your home in the fall and winter months. Fall and winter buyers can be very motivated as they may have busier calendars than in the summertime, and there is typically less inventory, so decisions may be made quickly. Fall and Winter is a perfect opportunity to make your home stand out and take advantage of motivated buyers. What are a few things you can do to make your home attractive to potential buyers?
CURB APPEAL IN THE WINTER MONTHS
This is a little harder to showcase in the fall and winter months, but is still very important so take care so your home will still look great on a drive-by. Be sure any dead or ugly landscape material is removed, keep walks well swept and/orshovelled and add season appropriate enhancements or moveable plantings to first impression approaches. Make sure people aren't tripping on extension cords, shovels or bikes that were never put away. Just because there may be a blanket of snow or leaves, care should still be take to showcase your home in the best light possible.
INSIDE THE HOME...
Be sure to change decor with the seasons, but don't get too abundant with over-decorating of pumpkins, fall decorations, scarecrows, etc. or hundreds of Christmas knick-knacks. You still want to enjoy the seasons in your own home, but do remember that if your home is listed, your job now is to appeal to the buyer so they can still see the great features of your house without too many distractions.
THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Buyers can be stressed out when making a big emotional decision such as the purchase of a home. Adding soft music in the background adds a psychological, comfortable element that may just invite potential buyers to stay awhile and relax in your home while looking around. That's what you want to achieve! If a home is too silent, every noise and creak may be bothersome and may add tension. Moderation is the key here, so choose the middle of the spectrum versus AC/DC, Opera or Nature music of birds and waterfalls that can be a little too cheesy.
COZY IT UP!
Draw attention to attractive winter month features, such as a fireplace, sunroom, outdoor firepits, the hotub gazebo. Just like summertime features are a great draw, the goal is to have buyers visualize using various winter features during the cold months ahead. Add warm throws and soft cushions to a sofas and beds, but with classic restraint. Candles left burning are never a good idea, but flameless, battery operated candles are readily available that can create a soft glow atop a fireplace mantel. An investment of fresh flowers from a nursery is a nice touch to a living room and adds a cheery, pleasant ambience in the grey days of fall and winter.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE HEAT AND COLD
During open houses, a home is typically warm and comfortable as tight-fisted owners may turn the thermostat up for prospective buyers. During routine showings through the day or if the owners have vacated the home, a chilly, empty home does little to create a warm welcome. It may cost a tad more in the long run, but if the temperature in the home is either too hot or too cold, buyers are less apt to stick around and explore.
LET IN THE LIGHT!
Light-light-light! It's especially valuable in the dreary fall and winter months, it's so very important to take advantage of light values. Dark and dreary, heavily curtained closed up rooms are not pleasant to view. Keep as much light shining through clean window panes as possible. If you have showings on a dark, cold winter night then take a few minutes to throw on soft lighting in each room to convey and warm and inviting home that buyers can visualize themselves in. On that subject, try and stay with floor and table lamps, even in bedrooms. Overhead lighting can be very glaring and harsh.
PLEASANT OR SMELLY?
Scent in a home is a huge deal to potential homebuyers. As usual, restraint is more desireable than a flowery scent crossed with meatloaf supper. Because showings are booked in advance, you may want to hold off on creating offensive odous to potential buyers. Go outside for a bit to clear your passages and walk back into your home to get a sense of how buyers may react. If you experience any type of smell that could be offensive, crack the windows open as much as possible for a bit. Automatic air fresheners that are timed to go off every few minutes are great, but you don't want them overpowering either. Stay away from flowery fragrances and choose fresher scents like 'rain', 'linen', 'vanilla' or 'water' type scents. And yes, it's true...fresh baked bread, apple pie, cinnamon and pleasant baking spice scents really do wonders in adding to the pychological and emotional roller-coaster that buyers sometimes experience.
I hope some of these tips help in making potential buyers realize the effort you've put into showing your home. They're small things, but the payoff can be tremendous!