As most savvy buyers and sellers know, spring is the peak season for home sales. But job and lifestyle changes can sometimes make it imperative to sell during the winter months. Our Northwest winters can make it difficult for your home to look its best and attract those buyers who, like you, need to relocate in the winter. The following steps can help brighten your home and make it more appealing to potential buyers.
1. Make your home accessible.
Make sure there is always a clear path to your door by continually shoveling a path through snow. Always make sure the sidewalk and any steps are not slippery from rain or ice. When in doubt, sprinkle a layer of sand to ensure stable footing. If you are holding an open house on a rainy day, put a rubber mat by the front door or a container to hold wet umbrellas.
2. Create a warm welcome.
On damp, cold days - especially for an open house, keep your home a degree or two warmer than usual and set the thermostat to maintain that temperature so that visitors feel a welcoming warmth when they enter your home. A higher temperature setting will also ensure that the heat won't kick on when a potential buyer is present, especially important if you have a loud HVAC system. A toasty, warm house will also give a buyer more motivation to linger and give the house serious consideration. If you have a fireplace, a cozy fire can also create a mood of comfort and homey charm.
3. Keep it light.
Pull up blinds and open shutters. Make sure drapes are pulled back on all the windows to let in as much light as possible. The only exception to that rule would be open blinds which reveal undesirable outdoor scenery. The goal you are striving for is to create an open, airy feeling in your home. Turn on every light in the house, including appliance lights and closet lights. This trick will help even a house with limited windows appear bright and cheerful.
You can also brighten darker rooms by adding a few spotlights on the floor behind furniture. The one light you want to keep off, however, is the light from the TV. You want potential buyers to be concentrating on the merits and features of your home and not the basketball score! For the outside of your home, consider motion sensors to light up the walk way or the front door area when a buyer approaches the house.
4. Appeal to the senses.
Music playing softly can enhance the mood of the house but don't use a commercial radio station. Instead have light and unobtrusive music that will play continuously during a showing or open house. To make the house seem appealing all year round, display photographs showcasing your summer flower garden or the back deck with charming flower pots on it.
Having pleasing smells is another effective tool when showing a house but be careful; many people are allergic to certain scents and deodorizers so instead of air fresheners or burning candles, bake cookies or heat apple cider with cinnamon. Be prepared to offer these treats to your guests or the appetizing odors might make them eager to leave and get a treat of their own!
The Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties provided information contained in this article. For more information or to find a qualified professional, visit the Master Builders website.