10 Tips For Selling Your Home in the Winter

"I'm not listing my house over the holidays or in the winter, it won't sell."  This is a familiar refrain from would-be sellers who see no value in having their home on the market over the fall and winter.  Is this a valid argument?

Actually, the statistics show that fewer homes sell over the fall and winter, but the difference is very small.  Usually the median sale price is slightly higher in Spring so there is some reason to sell then.  Right now though, the median sale price is slowly dropping every month including last spring, so there is some urgency to get homes sold as quickly as possible since the prices are going down despite the season!

So here are some tips for selling your house in the winter:

  • Keep snow and ice at bay - No-one wants to wade through sloshy snow to get to the door. Not only that, when they get into your house, they'll spread mud and water all over your floors.  If you are away and/or the house is vacant, hire someone to be responsible for this every day.
  • Warm it up! - Think warm and cozy.  If the house is still lived in, keep the home fires burning for showings.  Keep the temperature at least 65F, we want people to relax when they are in the home!
  • Take advantage of natural light - Encourage showings during the high-daylight hours. Make sure the blinds are really open, the curtains are drawn back and all the lights are on. Clean all the lamps and replace the bulbs with the highest safe wattage bulbs allowed.
  • Get the windows washed - We want as much light as possible to get into the house!
  • Play music softly in the background - Close to the holidays, there is nothing so good as holiday traditional music. Try and keep it non religious, you don't want to make assumptions about who might want to buy your home.
  • Make your house as comfortable and cozy - Cozy sofas across from the fire, blankets handy for cozy relaxing! A small pile of books on an end table!
  • Focus on winter issues -  Does the Home Owners Association plough, salt etc. Is the house close to a bus route. Is the driveway flat for easy access.
  • Set up timers - Even if your house is vacant, make sure that there are some lights that come on automically at random times. Make sure that the outside lighting around the front door is on as soon as it becomes dark.
  • Make the house festive! - Set the table with the good china and silverware! Have holiday cookies on the counter in the kitchen. 
  • Give the home a nice aroma - One of my clients would buy that bread that is part cooked.  You have to heat it up for about 10 minutes in a hot oven.  She would heat up that same loaf everytime she had a showing and the house would smell marvelous!!!  You can use candles or plug ins also but don't overdo this as the prospective buyer may think you are covering up some unpleasant issue like mold or cigarette smoke.

Remember, price counters all negative issues.  If you have only a few showings, you are probably 10% overpriced and if you have a lot of showings but no offer, you are probably 5% overpriced.

Back to Home Sellers Information