Mother Nature can sometimes be cruel, but she can also deliver an abundance of beauty during the winter months: the frosting of a delicate snowfall, colorful sunsets on the western horizon, and dramatic contrasts of colorful birds against dark tree limbs.
Offering your home for sale in the winter provides some distinct opportunities. Typically, there are fewer homes available and, with the threat of rising interest rates, many buyers are especially motivated — as they want to maximize their buying power and close quickly.
With a few inexpensive, organic, and creative “edits,” you can add just the right amount of pizzazz to target a winter buyer.
Remember: “You only have one chance to make a good first impression.” Critically survey your home from the curb and remove leaves and fallen branches from landscape beds, gutters, or the driveway and walkways. At the entrance, add a new doormat, a few indoor/outdoor pillows on existing chairs, and add two planters filled with boxwood or small evergreens to flank your front door. Confirm that your door-bell works — or add a new brass or nickel door-knocker. In the foyer or entrance hall, add a water-proof boot-tray — for the convenience of buyers (and the added benefit of protecting your floors).
Buyers routinely mention that they want a bright and airy interior — so remove any curtains and dull exterior screens then label and neatly store them in your attic, basement, or garage. Add a few table or floor lamps and increase the wattage of your light-bulbs, especially in darkened hallways and corners.
Check your interior walls, ceilings, and trim. Is it time to paint? Retain a neutral base color throughout your house, but add “pops” of warm color with accent pillows, fresh towels, bed linens, and area rugs. There are many professional home stagers available for hire who can reconfigure your existing furniture and rent or buy new pieces (to attract an enthusiastic HGTV fan!)
Winter buyers are especially sensitive to energy efficiency. Schedule a maintenance check-up of your furnace, clean filters, and have the attic inspected for proper insulation, ventilation, and possible roof leaks. This is also a good time to buy new fire extinguishers (that meet local codes) and replace batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Now is the time to seriously purge. During winter months, many stores offer “container sales.” These plastic bins are waterproof and stack-able. Pack, label, and neatly categorize items for your move. Take a critical look at all rooms, closets, basement, and garage. Remove and pack excessive books, toys, and collectibles from bookcases and curio cabinets. Remove all items from your kitchen counter with the exception of those few items you use every day. Pay close attention to your closets and pantry. Remove all unused or outdated items. Remove all unnecessary items from the bathroom counters and store in your cabinet or linen closet.
Collect all items that will be donated and contact your local charity. Many companies will come to your home and pick up clothing, linens, and furniture for your convenience.
This is a good time to compile all your system and renovation receipts, plus appliance and mechanical instruction manuals and warranties. Place these items in a specific drawer or box and label “DO NOT PACK.” Add legal documents from your closing including copies of the deed, title information, survey, previous inspections, and bank appraisals.
Finally, organize seasonal photographs in a photo book or on your computer screen. When your buyer views your yard ablaze with colorful plantings, it will remind them that spring is just around the corner!
Anne Nosnitsky is a Broker-Sales Associate with Gloria Nilson & Co. For more information, she can be reached at 609-468-0501. http://annenosnitsky.myglorianilsonagent.com.