The high in Broad Ripple yesterday was a blustery 16. Today in Fishers, there’s an apparent heat wave coming in, bringing the temperature up to a balmy 25. Real estate agents in Indianapolis will tell you that it can be harder to sell a home in the winter. The days are colder and shorter, leaving less time to show a home to potential buyers. Buyers and sellers will often avoid having to move in the winter at all costs.
The good news, though, is that most buyers looking at houses in the winter aren’t just killing time. They’re serious enough about finding a new home to house hunt at a time when most people might rather stay inside.
First, if there’s snow or ice on the ground, make sure walkways are safe. Spread out ice melt or sand to provide traction during snowy weather. Shovel the snow on the driveway and sidewalks to make your home more inviting. Be sure to place a mat on which for visitors to wipe their feet. This is especially important for vacant homes. If you’re out of town, ask your agent to recommend a service and/or manage the process to make sure the home is in show ready condition at all times. Now this may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many sellers aren’t doing this.
Second, warm up the house. Buyers will remember the house that was pleasantly warm on a frigid day. This also demonstrates to buyers that your furnace is in good working order. You want to make the home comfortable to buyers so they don’t have a reason to rush out.
Next, to make a “welcoming scent”, bake cookies the day of the showing. Some people are sensitive to the fragrances in air fresheners and perfumes, so skip spraying those when expecting someone to look at your house. Chocolate chip or white chocolate macadamia nut cookies have been shown (by me) to be best!
You can also serve snacks in the kitchen. Give the buyer a reason to linger in your home by leaving a light snack in the kitchen. If the weather is cold, consider providing chili or soup in a crock-pot to keep it warm with festive disposable bowls. Or, to keep it simple, you can provide coffee or hot chocolate and cookies. Most people are comfortable with using the one-cup coffee machines these days. So leave a couple coffee pods and clean cups out, with a “help yourself” note.
Also, as with selling in any season, make sure your listing photos are season-appropriate. Although the curb appeal may be better during the spring & summer, having these photos as your main MLS (BLC) image may sending the wrong signal to prospective buyers. Stale listings often stick out to web searchers by having outdated photos. It only takes a minute to get a recent set of exterior photos and this is well worth it for that all important first impression.
Lastly, to make your house appear warm and inviting during cold winter months, turn all the lights in the house on; place warm-toned throws and decorator pillows around the living room. Play soothing or calm music; keep the volume low enough that buyers can talk quietly to each other.
These techniques each can help your home seem more inviting this winter and help it stand above the competition.
What else have you found to work in the cold months here in Indy?