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Top 10 Winter Home Selling Tips

Blog by Sara Kalke | November 7th, 2012

Winter Home Selling Tips

Here are 10 ways to help you sell your home in the winter:

  1. Shovel & Sand Your Walks: The approach to your home should not be scary!  Make sure your walks or driveway are cleared and sanded.  You do not want potential buyers slipping on your property, and you definitely do not want to give the impression that you don't care.  If you own a vacant property, make sure the snow is shoveled there, even if it means hiring a snow removal company.
  2. Turn Your Exterior Lights On:  When it gets dark at 5pm, there's nothing worse than showing up to a bunch of dark houses and trying to make them seem warm and cozy.  Get a motion sensor light for your front walkway, or even better, turn on the exterior light before you leave for the showing.
  3. Turn Your Interior Lights On Too!!!  If you live in your home and have enough time before a showing, turn on all the lights before a showing.  I really mean all the lights - basement, laundry room, garage, etc.  Your home will really stand out compared to dark homes!
  4. Have the Heat On: I know so many homeowners (myself included) who turn the heat down while they're normally away from home.  While you're selling, keep that heat on to 20 degrees Celsius, so buyers don't get a chill in your home, especially if they come at a time when no one is usually home.  No one feels comfortable in a 10 degree house... they're buying a home not a meat aisle in the grocery store!
  5. Be Extra Sensitive to Smells: now that you can't open the windows to air out your house as often, don't forget that your house won't smell much to you, but did you know that the first thing that buyers do when they enter a home is take a good whiff?  Make sure your home doesn't smell like food, wet dog, smoke, incense, or one of the worst offenders - strong air freshener!!!  Put your dog food into a sealed container (it will last longer than in the bag anyway!).
  6. Don't Over-Scent:  I covered it in the last point but it's so important I'm repeating myself.  Don't use strong plug-in air fresheners, and for goodness sakes, don't put them in every plug-in in the house!  A light linen scent Febreeze is okay in the laundry room.  Other than that, the best smell is of a clean, well maintained home, so use your ventilation fan, bathroom fans, and keep your carpets and floors clean.  Remove all free-standing garbage cans for showings, and if you can, take out the trash under the kitchen sink (or at least tie the bag shut) before showings.  I don't mind lightly scented diffuser sticks in bathrooms and kitchens, but don't push it - you don't want buyers to get suspicious of what you are covering up.  While I'm at it, don't leave candles burning unattended!
  7. Maintain Your Furnace:  Your house shouldn't sound like it is about to lift off when the furnace starts.  Have Atco gas check your furnace, and a trained professional service your furnace on a regular basis.  Clean your furnace filter.  Turn off your furnace electricity and vacuum the inside of your furnace gently (or have your service provider do this if you aren't comfortable).  Furnaces are very important to buyers and get special notice in the winter.
  8. Install and Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors:  This is as much for you as it is for your buyers.  More info about CO detectors HERE.
  9. Clean Your Fireplace: A fireplace is a beautiful selling feature in the winter, but not if it is full of soot or the glass is dirty.  Fireplace companies and professionals have various products and tools to use to keep your furnace clean (and safe) for use in the winter.  If you have a GAS fireplace, you can even turn it on before a showing to create a nice cozy feeling.
  10. Make Chocolate Brownies for the Showing Agent:  Okay, I'm totally kidding on this one!!  I don't think you have to leave baking or treats for us at showings!  I find buyers often don't want to impose and eat snacks left out for us.  Milk and cookies are great for Santa, but you don't need to leave them for us!  If you did need to leave out something, wrapped chocolates or candies would be great.  Just saying!

Questions? Comments?  I'd love to hear from you.

- Sara