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Selling in winter

In many parts of the country, selling a home during the winter months can be a challenge. Dreary, cold weather and the end-of-the-year holidays can keep buyers away and heighten fears of your home staying on the market longer than expected.

The seller who chooses to list during the winter months isn't up against an impossible task, however. There are always a percentage of people who need to move. There is a smaller pool of buyers, but there isn't much inventory, either. In mid-winter there are generally two kinds of buyers out there. On the one hand there are investors who hope that a desperate seller, short of options because of the time of year, will agree to a quick sale at a depressed price. Obviously you don't want to sell under those conditions. The other type of buyer is much like you. For one reason or another, these buyers need a home, now. They're out looking and if they find what they want, at a reasonable price, they'll buy.

However, sellers who have their homes on the market during November, December, and January need to market their homes differently than they would during warmer weather. They need to price their homes aggressively, and they need to present their home well.

This is particularly the case in the northern tier of states where snow is rule. While everyone else simply cleans off their driveway, make an effort to clear your front yard, so buyers can see what you have to offer. A neatly shoveled driveway and cleared walkway can add a nice touch.

Also, check to see that the basement is dry and sealed from any drafts. Take yourself on a tour of your home. Start in the basement and work you way through the house. More than likely you’ll see many previously undiscovered cluttered spaces and needed repairs that can turn off potential buyers.

Open as many curtains as possible to add light and color to rooms. Also, it’s suggested that you keep spring and summer pictures of your home out on tables and in clear view. Photos of your front yard flowers or the backyard shade tree in full summer bloom can help swing many buyers in favor of a purchase. Keep a pot of aromatic hot cider going on the stove. And be sure you purchase some winter-blooming flowers in pots to put around the inside entrance of your home to suggest spring. Make sure the furnace is in good working condition and that the room temperature is kept at a comfortable level (now's not the time to save on gas/oil). Use such words as "toasty," "warm" and "cozy" in your ads. And be sure to mention an efficient furnace or fireplace.

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