Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tips for Selling During the Winter Months

Use the Season to Your Home-Selling Advantage

It is generally thought that spring and summer are the best time to try to sell your home.  While these times do offer advantages, I have found that the increase in inventory offsets the increase in demand.  In other words, while more buyers may be in the market for a new home, there are more sellers competing for their contract.  So I do not advise sellers to wait until spring in an effort to be "strategic".  It often backfires.
Regardless of your reasons, if your home is for sale in the winter months you may think you're at a disadvantage.  After all, grass is dormant, trees are bare, and the flowers are long gone. 

But, there are other aspects of your home that you CAN sell, so let's take a look at how to maximize your opportunities.

*  Keep snow and ice at bay. If the buyer can't get in easily, the house won't sell. That means keeping walkways and driveways free of the frozen stuff. You want to make the home look well maintained.
*  Warm it up. Think warm, cozy, and homey. Before a buyer comes through, adjust the thermostat to a warmer temperature to make it welcoming. If you have a fireplace, turning it on right before the tour can create a more welcoming ambience.  There is nothing that screams "HOME" like warmth when you walk in the door.
*  Emphasize winter positives. Is your home on a bus route or some other vital service that means it's plowed or deiced regularly in bad weather? Be sure to mention that to the buyers.
*  Make it festive. Even if you're not actually going to be present, greet your buyers as if they were going to be guests at a party. Perhaps consider setting up the dinner table with the good china and silver. Have a plate of cookies for your guests, some warm cider, or even chilled bottles of water....and do put a small sign out inviting your guests to enjoy.
*  Use the season to your advantage. When the holidays are over, you can still use winter wreaths and dried arrangements around the door to spark interest. In the winter, with the leaves off the trees, you might also have a nice view that isn't as apparent in the spring and summer months.
*  And if you feel that your home shows best in the freshly fallen snow, spring or summer, consider displaying photos of your home in these conditions... a photo album opened near where the brochures are kept, or a digital frame with photos scrolling, are great ways to show off your home in all the seasons.

For more useful tips on selling, contact me, your real estate expert for the Dulles and Loudoun County area, for a private consultation!

Vicky Chrisner
Keller Williams, Leesburg, VA
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