Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Selling Your Home in the Winter

Winter is widely known as the slowest season in the real estate industry. The busy holidays, cooler weather and short days often keep home owners in place from December through March. However, it can also be a great time to sell, because, even though you may have fewer buyers during the winter months, you also have less competition from other sellers.

If you cannot wait to sell your home until the spring, you may need to try some extra marketing strategies for selling buyers on your home. Find the hidden advantages of your home during this slow season. With the leaves gone from trees, potential buyers may be able to see the whole home clearly, free from obstructions.

Just as in the summer months, keep your home exterior nicely maintained all winter long. Clear your yard of any fallen twigs or branches. Keep your driveway free of debris and the outside warmly lit. Because the holidays are over, make sure all festive decorations are taken down; however, wreaths or dried arrangements around the door are always a welcome seasonal touch — just as long as they do not scream "holidays."

Inside your home, you will also want to keep all rooms well lit. If you are not planning on being home often, keep both inside and outside lights on timers to keep electric bills at bay. Make sure all windows are thoroughly cleaned and curtains and blinds drawn. Try to schedule a showing or open house during peak daylight hours to maximize natural light in your home.

The way your home smells can make a big impression on a potential buyer. If you have a wood-burning fire, you have got a double advantage — it brings both a warm light and comforting smell to your home. Other smells that may favorably affect a buyer's mood are chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon rolls, freshly baked bread, apple cider and vanilla. Want to create a nice aroma without baking? A drop of vanilla extract on a baking sheet place in a warm oven will mimic the scent of freshly baked cookies.

Though there may be fewer prospective buyers during the winter, this does not mean you will not be able to sell your home. Be creative with the way you stage your home and remember to treat everyone who enters as respected guests. You obviously saw potential in the home you are trying to sell, and someone else surely will, too.

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