Showing off your home to potential buyers can be a challenge when it’s cold, dark and snowy outside. During frigid winter months, making a strong first impression is all about staging your home to feel warm and welcome. Here are 10 strategies to help your home shine when the weather tries to get in the way.
- Leave the Light on for Potential Buyers. Set your home’s lights on a timer so they come on as soon as dusk rolls around. That way, any potential buyers who cruise through your neighborhood or come to a showing will see an inviting home at first sight.
- Clear All Paths to Your Home. Be sure to give visitors a safe path to your front door by shoveling and de-icing all driveways, sidewalks and walkways on your property. Sprinkling some sand or salt on your walkways is a great move as well. If you have a porch, deck or patio you want to show off, remember to clear those areas, too.
- Clean Out Your Gutters. Leaves, acorns and twigs get pushed into gutters by melting snow. Scooping all that debris out will help ensure your home appears well-maintained. Keep in mind, you should always use extreme caution whenever you use a ladder outside in the winter. Make sure you have someone on the ground with you and never reach further away from your ladder than arm’s reach.
- Spruce Up the Porch. Welcome all potential buyers before they even step foot inside. All it takes is a potted plant, a cheerful doormat or a tasteful wreath to add some life near the entry. However, you might not want to add all three. Less is more when it comes to staging because you want to people to focus on the features of your home – not the decorations. Also, make sure the front door is in good shape. If it’s seen better days, consider giving it a fresh coat of paint.
- Give Your Yard a Hint of Summer. Gardens tend to lose their luster when they’re buried in snow. Help buyers envision the summertime possibilities with some decorative stones, large urns or planters. There are many cool weather blooms to choose from that can brighten things up, including camellias and hellebores.
- Keep your home warm and toasty. One nice thing about frigid temperatures is that they make a warm home feel especially soothing. Use automated thermostat settings so that prospective buyers step out of the cold and into the warm embrace of your home. 68-70 degrees is just right. If you have a gas fireplace, turning it on before showings can help the setting look as comforting as it feels.
- Bump up the Cozy Factor. Once you’ve helped visitors shake the winter chill, keep the cozy vibe going in each room. Place lush throws on the back of couches. Use nice thick comforters on beds. Hang plush robes in bathrooms and lay down soft rugs on bare tiles. Using colors like red, orange and yellow can also add a sense of warmth.
- Protect Your Hardwoods. Jackets and shoes that are soaked in rain and snow will track a mess of water into your otherwise clean home. Hardwood floors are typically a great selling point, but if they get wet and slippery they can become unsightly and hazardous. Be ready to stop the mess in its tracks. Place a bin out front for umbrellas, keep a coat rack at the door and set out a super absorbent mat (or two) in the entry.
- Bring in Extra Light if Needed. Do a quick test: pull up all the blinds, push back all the drapes, and turn on every light – including appliance lights and closet lights. Notice any gloomy corners or dark areas? Shine a light on them with a strategic table lamp, floor lamp or reading lamp. You want to make sure every room gives off a memorable glow.
- Charm guests with delicious scents. It’s hard to top the smell of freshly baked cookies, but you might not want to set out food that can be eaten quickly at showings. Hot soups, chilis or stews are enticing alternatives that may convince buyers to stick around and warm up to the home some more. Just be sure to leave out a waste can for tossing out paper bowls and plastic spoons.
Get Advice from a Staging Expert
An experienced real estate agent can give you more insight on how to stage specific rooms and help you gain an advantage in a competitive market.
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