Winter can be a more difficult time to sell your home, without the attractive allure of natural light filling the rooms and the surrounding trees and flowers in full bloom. But winter can also be beneficial to sellers. With less homes on the market there is less competition and the likeliness is that people searching this time of year are serious about moving which helps reduce the potential for time wasters or uncertain buyers.
We spoke to an expert Chelmsford estate agent to find out some top tips for preparing your home and increasing its appeal to buyers this winter;
The worst thing you could do in the winter is invite people round for a viewing only for them to be greeted by a cold, chilly house. Potential buyers want to feel warmth when they step inside and know that the central heating system is effective, so make sure you allow plenty of time to heat every room sufficiently.
If you have a working fireplace, then use it! Fire it up and show off the cosy warm atmosphere that it creates which will have buyers to imagine themselves living there and around the fire on cold nights.
This is not the easiest time of year for the gardens but you must try to make the most of what your property has to offer. The front of the house needs to have curb appeal so be sure to rake leaves, keep paths and driveways clear, mow the grass and trim hedges to have everything looking as neat and tidy as possible.
There are some lovely plants such as heather which are suitable for winter so why not brighten up the exterior with a few near the front door or along the path in coloured pots.
If your front door or fence are looking a little tired, then why not make an effort on a dry day to give them a quick coat of paint? A cheap and effective way to guarantee the front of your home is neat and appealing to potential buyers.
Light it up
If a viewing is in the late afternoon or even during the day, typical winter weather will often mean dull, drab and dreary natural lighting that won’t highlight your home to its full potential.
You don’t need to switch on every light in the house but be clever and try out different variations in each room to see what works best. Use spot lights, lamps, candles and wall lights to create a bright and welcoming ambience.
If you are taking viewings when it is dark remember to put the porch light on to greet your guests!
If it’s coming up to Christmas then take full advantage and use your tree, sparkling lights and decorations to maximise the appeal of your home and have viewers saying ‘this is where I want to be living next Christmas’.
However, don’t be squeezing your tree into a tiny space and make the room feel smaller or overcrowded. Even if it means moving a piece or 2 of furniture out into the shed or garage temporarily to make sure that you don’t lose valuable space when adding your festive decorations.
The same applies here as the front garden – keep grass, plants, trees, hedges and path areas trimmed, clean and clear. Put away all kids toys and cover garden furniture that is unused to ensure it is protected and secure for blustery days.
Keep a close eye on your guttering and have them cleaned out if needed. Eagle eyed buyers will spot an overflowing or blocked gutter straight away which can be off putting and give the impression that the house is not well maintained.
Other things to think consider
Here’s a few other things to consider when selling your home in winter;
- Have a thorough clear out before you take viewings. Pack away unused items and remove bulky, outdated or unnecessary furniture and objects that can make rooms feel smaller. Clutter free is the way to be when it comes to staging a home for potential buyers!
- Be aware of how your house smells – especially if you have pets as damp dog is not an appealing scent. Cooking smells and the like don’t disperse as quickly in winter as people don’t tend to open their windows, so be sure to use nice smelling candles, odour eliminators, sprays and diffusers to have your home smelling fresh.
- Cobwebs, dust and dirt is more visible in low lights so remember to give your home a thorough clean and go round with a duster before viewings.
- Make the most of the winter and really emphasise the cosiness of your warm home with cushions, throws, lanterns, spiced citrus scents and rugs on hardwood floors.