We all know that winter is traditionally real estate’s slowest season for a multitude of reasons – the cold weather, holidays, and school is usually in full swing… just to name a few. But what if we said it may be a little different this year? Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors, predicts “it will be one of the best winter sales years ever.” If you’re thinking of selling your home this winter, here are things to prepare.
SAFETY FIRST – When you list your home for sale, you are taking on a whole new level of liability and typically your listing agreement with a Realtor stipulates that it is not their responsibility. Inviting public to your home is like opening a retail store where you can be held responsible for their safety and wellbeing. It is imperative to keep all pathways, driveways free from ice and snow and brush off trees or bushes with a broom. Also, keep in mind how much earlier it gets darker at this time of year; it’s a good idea to keep your home illuminated both inside and out for potential buyers to look at when they drive by.
KEEP IT SIMPLE WITH DECORATIONS – If you are trying to sell your home around the holiday season and you’re an enthusiastic holiday decorator, make sure the decorations are accentuating, but not overpowering. Some real estate professionals will say to forego the decorations altogether, but if your neighborhood is festive and everyone participates, you may actually be doing yourself a disservice by being one of the only houses in the dark – and that’s not very inviting. For showings, you can light the fireplace if you have one, and play relaxing holiday music.
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WORK FROM HOME SPACE IS IMPORTANT – Working from home is more important than ever these days, and the trend seems to be impacting home preferences as well. As remote work grows, those who once used to work in offices are in greater need of a home office space. Make sure to really accent your office space, if you have one. Even if you don’t have an extra room to stage as an office, try finding a space in your home where you could make a spot for a desk. If you aren’t staging your home, make sure to mention an office room or space in the description of the listing to help buyers envision themselves living and working there.
PATIENCE AND KINDNESS – Tis the season, be mindful of potential pitfalls of the winter weather conditions. Everything is a little slower in the cold and it is very possible that showings might be delayed and patience will certainly be a virtue. We can only hope that the Realtor who is scheduled to show your home will let your agent know if they are delayed or running late, but unfortunately that is not always the case. Though you will always be encouraged to leave your home while it is being shown, that is not always possible especially if you work from home. If you must be home during the showing, I always suggest that you take a book or laptop and simply sit in your car in the garage until the showing is complete. Last winter I had a stay-at-home client with small children who actually had her minivan all set up with snacks, blankets and fun things to do. She would simply move the whole troupe when the doorbell rang. The kids saw it as an adventure and the showing Realtor and potential buyers love having the home to themselves!