Believe it or not, the “spring’’ real estate begins in early January. With record low inventory, we are expecting this year’s spring market to start early and be extremely busy and productive.
Don’t let the ice and snow get in your way. If you have your house on the market or plan on listing your house, there are additional things you need to do to help it shine in the midst of a potentially harsh winter. Make your selling experience a more positive one, and ensure that your house is prepared for showings and open houses by following these steps. – Debi Benoit, of Benoit Mizner Simon Co. Real Estate
Mind the holidays
During the winter, people tend to set milestones to make the winter pass more quickly. People look forward to the next holiday to get them through the season. Keep that in mind when decorating your home. Make decorations joyous and timely without going overboard. Be sure to take them down in a timely manner as well. It will give people a sense of comfort.
It’s all about the atmosphere
In addition to the decorations, you should do everything you can to create a welcoming and cozy atmosphere. Turn on the lights throughout the house to dispel the winter gloom. Consider making a fire in the fireplace and set out coffee, hot chocolate, tea or cider for your open houses. Make your guests feel as at home as possible.
If you are away for the winter
Entrust your home to a caretaker that will make sure your home feels “lived in.’’ Put the caretaker in touch with your realtor so he or she will know about showings or open houses. Ask him to regulate the temperature accordingly.
Keep your walkways and driveway clear
Ice and snow are seasonal hazards that must be addressed, not only to avoid unnecessary injuries but to prevent any legal action resulting from a fall. It is the sellers’ obligation to make sure paths to the house are safe and clear.
Don’t forget to clean your gutters
Ice, snow and the frigid temperatures can really do some damage. Make sure you have cleared the autumn leaves out of your gutters before the hard weather hits and keep an eye on your gutters to avoid ice damming, a common problem in this neck of the woods.
Display photos of the house in nice weather
It’s great to let buyers visualize what the house and grounds look like during more temperate seasons. It can be difficult for buyers to get a good look at the yard and garden so your photos can be very reassuring. I often joke with my buyers when I call them in April to see how they like the patio they never saw when they bought in January.
Plant seasonal planters
Nothing is more welcoming than beautiful greens flanking the front door. And, thanks to the cool weather, most greens will last the season. An easy adornment that packs a big punch.
Welcome mats inside and out
Winter can make a big mess when slush, salt and sand come into the picture. Protect your wood floors by using a high quality mat outdoors to capture most of the grime and another inside for the rest. Keep towels handy (but hidden) to clean up the mess.
Shoes on or off
You can ask people to remove their shoes or boots but you cannot force them. Be aware that legally, if a guest slips on your stairs or slippery wood floors, you can be liable, especially if you’ve asked him to remove his shoes. Booties are available but the same rule applies.
Make sure salt and sand is available
It’s important to stock plenty of salt and sand for inclement weather. Make sure your realtor knows where to find it if the weather worsens after you have left the house for showings and open houses. And of course, keep a broom handy to clean up the mess they make.