Curb appeal and staging your Fort McMurray home for a showing is never more important than during the winter. Getting the details right can make the difference between a sale and another week of waiting in the slower winter market.
Providing a clear path from the street and driveway to your front door encourages potential buyers to visit the home and it also shows a standard that the current owner keeps for his home. Shovel the snow and scrape the ice.
Access is important, and the worst first impression is a driveway or sidewalk that’s still covered with snow: a snow-free walkway and drive gives the impression lots of prospective buyers have been looking for. Watch for icy spots and make sure to keep slick areas regularly salted or sanded. Ensure decks and pathways to sheds or garages are shoveled in case your prospective buyer would like to view the yard, deck, garage or shed.
Take down the Christmas decor after the holidays have passed. If you usually keep your lights up but off all year round, take them down this year. You’re selling anyway, so consider it a jump-start on packing! We do encourage clients to keep up any winter-themed decorations they have such as welcoming winter door wreaths or table centerpieces. Think seasonal touches rather than holiday ones.
Remember every agent and buyer that comes into your home will have thick winter jackets and snow-covered boots. Provide a convenient place to remove wet footwear and hang coats immediately when buyers enter your home: additional thoughtful touches include slippers, a basket for scarves and gloves, and a chair or bench to sit on when taking off or putting on boots. Buyers will appreciate you protecting the floor of their prospective investment.
Make sure your home is warm when you know your agent is scheduling showings. In particular be mindful of the temperature of your floors: cold hardwood or tiles on the feet is an immediate turn off. If you’re leaving town for the weekend while your agent is showing your home, make sure to keep the thermostat up: buyers who aren’t comfortable won’t stay long. Keeping the temperature low might mean savings on your utility bill but will affect your final selling price.
Encourage showings during daylight hours and keep your blinds and curtains open to showcase your home in natural light. Make sure your windows are spotlessly clean: the angles of winter sunlight highlight grim on glass. If you’re showing at night turn on every light so agents and buyers aren’t spending time looking for switches, and clean lamps and fixtures to make sure everything looks its best. Set up timers to turn outdoor and select indoor lights on when you aren’t home for prospective buyers doing drive-bys in the evening.
Create an inviting and cozy atmosphere and make your home a retreat from the cold weather. Turn on gas fireplaces and place warm throw-blankets on couches or chairs. Provide warm cocoa or fresh brewed coffee and tea. If you enjoy baking, the aroma of cookies complete with a plate of fresh baking to snack on can endear you to potential buyers and make your home a welcome haven from the sub-zero temperatures.
Selling a home during the winter months can be trying: the weather is cold and gloomy, daylight hours are in short supply, and there are less buyers looking. It’s important to remember, however, that even though you may have less showings when selling your home in the winter months, house hunters who are keen enough to brave the cold tend to be serious buyers.