Show off your home's good side, even in the off-season.
In many parts of the U.S., winter is considered the slow season for real estate, but sellers can take advantage of this time by thoroughly preparing their home for sale in a market that's typically less competitive. One of the biggest challenges when staging a home in the winter is creating a warm and cozy feeling inside despite the drop in temperatures outside. So while your competition is hibernating, consider these budget-friendly ways to prep your home for both buyers and guests this winter.Curb the snow.
Curb the snow.
Getting your home ready to show starts at the curb. All driveways, walkways and steps around your home should be shoveled and de-iced. Cleared paths make it easier for visitors to access the front steps and safely walk up to the front door. If you have a deck or patio worth featuring, don’t forget to shovel those areas as well. One way to dress up the space for guests or potential buyers is with a quaint seating area – maybe using a fire pit or heat lamps, a few pillows and furry throw blankets to create an outdoor entertaining area.Make a welcoming first impression.
Make a welcoming first impression.
Think about ways to add a little life near the property's walkways and entries. In planters on the front porch, opt for seasonal plants like evergreen, spruce or winterberry. Add a cheerful paint color on the front door and a decorative winter wreath to welcome visitors. It’s important to provide a welcome mat too, so visitors can wipe their shoes before entering without tracking snow and dirt inside. Put outdoor lighting on timers during the winter months, ensuring buyers and guests don’t arrive to a dark house.Raise the temperature.
Raise the temperature.
No one likes hanging out in a chilly house, so raise the temperature to 70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher inside to keep a comfortable climate. This can help buyers forget about the cold weather outside and focus on the property’s features. A toasty atmosphere may also lead buyers to linger in the home longer, providing more time for them to fall in love with the space.Organize outdoor gear.
Organize outdoor gear.
Bundling up is a must to brave winter weather, but where do you put all those coats, scarves and boots when you walk into a home? Have a few hooks or extra hangers in the front closet for guests or buyers who want to take off their jackets while touring the space. In fact, you should encourage buyers to take off their outdoor gear – they’ll stay in the home longer and feel more comfortable while checking out the rooms.Decide whether shoes come off or stay on.
Decide whether shoes come off or stay on.
There are two ways to keep the outdoor elements from being dragged in and around the house: Make space for shoes to come off or provide shoe covers. If you go with the former, designate a place for people to sit near the entryway to remove their shoes that includes a bench and boot tray. The better option would be to purchase shoe covers for buyers to put over their shoes when walking through the home if they don't want to take their shoes off. At an open house, note your preference on a visible sign for buyers so your real estate agent can focus on the features of the home rather than shoe instructions.Light up the room.
Light up the room.
Lighting is important during the dreary winter months. Keep windows clean on the exterior and interior, and open drapes and shades to maximize the amount of natural light that enters. Use light-colored textured curtains in a color like off-white velvet to frame the windows. During showings, be sure all the lights in the home are on regardless of whether it's day or night, as it ensures each room is presented in the best light.Create cozy nooks.
Create cozy nooks.
Cozy spaces in a home will make anyone feel relaxed, so light the fireplace, maybe a few candles and add textured fabric in each room to set the scene. You can use faux fur in the space in the form of a pillow, throw or rug to instantly promote the feeling of warmth. Bring in some metallic finishes to add a few luxurious-looking accessories, and highlight a bar area or hot chocolate station. Have some coffee table books on display in the living room for visitors to browse while they’re warming up.Show off the possibilities.
Show off the possibilities.
If you need to sell your home in winter but have a sunroom or amazing backyard, strategically place large photographs on an easel in those key spaces to show what that particular area of the home looks like during the warmer months. Don’t forget to use images of the yard, garden, patio or deck so buyers can visualize the lifestyle they could lead living in this home year-round and what they can expect after the thaw.Read More