Selling your home is without a doubt a complicated matter on its own – but doing it during the winter months comes with its share of challenges as well.
First of all, (usually) there’s snow, which can cover some of your house’s best features, such as the garden, making it look anything but welcoming.
Besides, meeting with buyers is probably the last thing on your mind – it’s cold, it’s dark, and the only thing the person thinks about in such circumstances is hiding under a blanket and not going out until winter is over. Unfortunately, if you want to actually sell your house, that’s not going to work.
Selling your house is slightly more difficult in winter, but not impossible. You do need to remember what not to do so that everything can go as smoothly as possible – without any mistakes.
What are those mistakes, you might ask? Well, that’s what you’re about to find out.
Mistake #1: Waiting with Putting the House On the Market
It doesn’t matter if you just google “how can I sell my home fast” or go to a professional real estate agency – they will both tell you the exact same thing, and that is to not wait with listing your home. Why exactly is that?
Well, you don’t need a hundred buyers – one good buyer is all you need, and they can come looking at any time.
Also, don’t neglect months like November and December – sure, people might be excited for Christmas, but according to Lou Nimkoff, the president of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association in Florida, they are just as willing to put an offer on a house as they are to buy Christmas presents.
Mistake #2: Expecting No Interest on Specific Days
When we say ‘specific days,’ we mean holidays. Although you might think of Thanksgiving and Christmas Days as ‘off-limits’ for some people, those are the only days they have free to come and take a look at the house – so don’t be surprised if you get a request to see the property on one of them.
When selling your home in winter, consider asking one of your relatives to host all the festivities.
This way, if someone requests to see the property, you’ll be able to show it to them without any interruptions – mind you, although it does not happen that often, it is a possibility, so just keep that in mind.
Mistake #3: Not Preparing Your Home For Potential Visitors
Remember – if you put your house out on the market, it has to be ready for visitors at all times. And when you are selling your home in winter, it might need more preparation than usual.
Although you might not be able to control how your front yard looks (especially if there’s snow), you can at least ensure that those who come to see the house will be able to do so safely.
Always be prepared – keep rock salt, or ice-melt pellets of some sort near, so that you can make sure the porch, sidewalk, driveway, and any other area the visitors might want to see are slip-resistant.
When it comes to the inside, there’s not much to remember aside from keeping the entryway free of wet boots, coats, hats, etc., and making the house warm and cozy so that those who see it fall in love with it.
Some Other Mistakes to Avoid
Although the mistakes we have mentioned above are probably some of the most important ones to avoid, there are some smaller ones that you should also keep in mind if you want to get the best price when selling your home in winter.
Putting the Shovel Down
Don’t clear off only your driveway – sure, you might enter your house only through there, but it doesn’t mean that potential buyers will as well. Most likely, they will want to use the front door – and they cannot really do that if the path is covered in snow, can they?
Probably yes, but it wouldn’t make the best first impression – not to mention the fact it can be dangerous.
If you really don’t want to do it yourself, you can always hire a snow removal company to do it for you.
Not Cleaning the Windows
Trees located in front of your house usually prevent the sunlight from entering it. However, when winter comes, and there are no leaves on them, the barrier is gone, meaning that the sunlight is pouring in through your windows, allowing the potential buyers to see everything.
Fingerprints, streaks, scuffs… they are all more apparent during the wintertime, which is why you need to make sure to keep the windows clean at all times.
Although dirty windows in themselves might not be enough to drive the potential buyers away, it will definitely make them wonder what other details you have missed.
Using Outdated Summer Photos
Even though your home might look glamorous during the summer months, if you use the photos from that time in a winter listing, the potential buyers might get suspicious, and think that it is an old ad, just reposted a few times.
If you are using the services of a real estate agent, make sure to talk to them about taking new pictures for the listing that will make your home look seasonal and festive. It will definitely work better than photos that are a few months old.
However, does it mean that you shouldn’t use them at all?
Of course not. You can still keep them in the listing, as the potential buyers might be interested in seeing how the property – in particular the garden and/or backyard – looks like when it’s warm outside. However, don’t let them be the only ones that you include.
The Bottom Line
Selling your home is hard – we understand that. But doing that during the winter months? Now that takes the challenge to a whole new level.
However, just because it’s slightly more difficult does not mean that it’s impossible – it’s very much doable. You just need to remember a few things that you shouldn’t do when putting your house on the market.
It’s easy to make a mistake when you don’t know that what you are doing is wrong. Hopefully, after reading this article, you will have no trouble preparing your home to be listed and sold for top dollar. Good luck!