Having buyers look at your house during the winter has some special considerations that home sellers and their agents don't have to consider at other times of the year. As of this writing, Connecticut has yet to receive any significant winter weather accumulation for winter 2015-2016. That said, winter in New England at some point over the next couple of months is bound to show itself, with the inevitable snow, sleet, freezing rain, and cold temperatures that can impact our area. To show your home in the best possible light this time of year, be sure the proper steps are taken prior to the buyer showing up for their tour.
Don't underestimate the value of a well shoveled (and properly sanded/salted) driveway and walk for your home's showing. Ensure that the space plowed for the driveway can amply accomodate the buyer's car and their agent's car while they are visiting your home. Paths shoveld should include the walkways to any exterior doors, and remember to include a path to the back yard shed, since they may want to take a peek inside the shed while they are there. Remember to shovel the deck and steps leading up to it. If it's not realistic to shovel the entire deck, be sure to shovel a small portion of the deck from the home's entrance so at the very least an opportunity exists to step out onto the deck.
Purchase a quality door mat to keep the tracking in of the elements at bay. You want to have the buyer's feeling comfortable as they enter your home that they can wipe their feet appropriately and not track snow or sand into your house from the walkway. Many buyers will remove their shoes prior to walking through, and for those that don't, it will also save you time on clean up later.
Ensure that your For Sale sign is shoveled out enough so that passers-by can read it, including the brokerage's or agent's contact information. According to the National Association of Realtors, nearly 20% of home sales are initiated off of calls from the sign by the road. If the sign has been buried, or isn't legible, sellers are missing a large piece of their marketing of their home.
Even if you typically keep your house rather cool, ensure that the ambient temperature of your home in time for the showing is a comfortable room temperature. If you have a fireplace, a nice touch is to have the fire lit for showings. It speaks for itself that "the fireplace works" (a questions many buyers will ask), and shows the benefit of a cozy fire on a cold winter day.
The sun sets early in the winter, and even considering that, buyers will request showings in the evening. Be sure to have all interior and exterior lights on for a showing. A bright, lit up home is welcoming and inviting to those buyers who are manipulating the darkness on top of the search for their next home.
Buyers hunting for a home in the winter are typically motivated to buy either due to time contraints or other life circumstances. When your home is the one that is easy to find, easy to park at, easy to walk in to, and is bright, warm and cozy, it's the one that will stand out among the other houses looked at.
Melissa Rolland is a licensed Connecticut realtor. She lives in Tolland, along with her husband Todd, a licensed broker. Together they manage the Rolland Realty Group at Keller Williams Realty. You can connect with them at www.RollandRealtyGroup.com