|Ahh… Winter! Snow, snow and more snow! Winter presents its own set of challenges for your open house. Some say it now the ideal time to put your home on the market if you live where it gets cold and rains or snows, primarily because your home won’t show as well. However, we see it as an opportunity to make a lasting impression with your buyers. Here’s how:
1) Clear a Path
- Continually shovel a path through the snow, especially if it’s still falling.
- Footprints on freshly fallen snow will turn to ice if the temperature is low enough, so scrape the walk.
- Sprinkle a layer of sand over the sidewalk and steps to ensure stable footing.
- Remember to open a path from the street to the sidewalk so visitors are not forced to crawl over snowdrifts.
- If it’s raining, put a rubber mat by the front door and a container to hold umbrellas.
- Pull up the blinds, push back the, it will make for a dramatic winter scape.
- Turn on the lights throughout, including appliance lights and closet lights.
- Turn off all TVs.
- Some easy listening background music is always a nice touch.
- You want the temperature inside to be comfortable and to give the buyer more of a reason to linger, especially on a cold day.
- Pump up that thermostat prior to a showing. It is better to heat the house slightly warmer than usual and then set the temperature to hold. This prevents the heat from kicking on when the buyer is present, some HVAC systems are loud.
- Light the fireplace, place a grate in front of it and don’t leave it unattended for very long. You don’t want your house to catch fire!
- Make your living room appear romantic by placing a couple of champagne glasses near a champagne bucket on the coffee table.
- Fresh baked cookies in the kitchen (make sure they are accessible to people otherwise they will be disappointed)
- Turn your bathroom into a spa:
- Hang clean, white, plush robes.
- Roll up wash cloths, tie with a ribbon and place in a basket on the counter.
- Set up a grouping of soaps, lotions and shampoo.
- Place vases filled with winter flowers around the house.
5) Picture Perfect
- Display photographs showcasing summer flower gardens and warm getaways. Try to avoid pictures with people in them.
- Wash Windows
- Clean out cobwebs.
- If necessary, re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.
- Polish chrome faucets and mirrors.
- Clean out the refrigerator. Make sure to clean the bottoms and open a package of baking soda.
- Vacuum daily. If your carpeting is plush, vacuum in one direction.
- Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.
- Empty trash and recycling bins.
6) Winter Foods
- You want buyers to stay for a while and notice elements they might otherwise miss, make sure what you serve makes them stay.
- Hot soups are delicious on a cold day.
- Chili or stew is a great alternative to soup.
- Make sure to use single serve bowels and spoons and leave a receptacle for their disposal.
- Hot apple cider or chocolate are always welcome.
- You have little time to make an impression. Make sure to attach printed cards to items and in rooms that provide further information the buyer might miss or might not know.
- If you have an antique chandelier in your dining room, put a card on it that discloses its age and other important details.
- If you have removed the washer and dryer from the laundry room, attach a card to the wall describing the room.
- If your basement stairs are steep, attach a card to the railing that cautions buyers to watch their step.
- Take care when placing a card that says: “Not included in the sale.” That will make a buyer want it, but you can play that to your advantage.
8 ) Use Technology
- Plug indoor lamps into a timer to automatically turn on at times buyers will be present.
- Consider using motion sensors that will light up in the evening when a buyer approaches your doorstep.
- Set your crock-pot on a timer to warm up soup at designated time.
- If you use an answering machine, turn it off or mute messages.
Now that you’re ready to stage your perfect open house, make sure to list it on OnlyOpenHouses.com