There are lots of reasons that people choose to sell their home during the winter; sometimes it’s a willing choice and other times it’s not (work relocation/divorce are two good examples). No matter the reason why, there is no doubt that selling your house in the winter comes with different challenges than spring or summer. Over my nearly 12 years of working as a real estate agent in Kamloops, I have been through my fair share of homes during the bleak, snowy months and want to share some of my insider tid-bits.
- SHOVEL the driveway – please, please, please shovel your driveway before showings. It can be really tough to make time when you’re rushing out the door in the morning before work or have a showing the moment you get home. The first and foremost reason why I say try to make time to shovel is SAFETY. When the prospective buyers or I cannot get to your door without slipping and falling, there is a potential chance I may not be able to show your home. This rule really applies when the prospective buyer is elderly or has mobility challenges. If you don’t have time to shovel the whole driveway, feel free to make a path from the end of your driveway to the door. If you cannot be home that day/evening – try to have a neighbor on call to assist or leave a shovel out so I can make a path for the Buyer if needed.
- Entry Mat – If you don’t have an entry mat, get one now! Most prospective purchasers are looking at multiple homes throughout the showing tour. That means we are trekking through multiple roads, driveways (some with salt/gravel) to get to your front door. Along with the potential chance to sell your home that evening, is us bringing in wet, dirty shoes. Having shown multiple homes where I have had to leave my shoes outside in -20; its highly unpleasant to put your shoes back on and head to the car after the showing. Talk about cooling off the Buyer when you want them ready to go!
- Turn all the LIGHTS ON! – it gets really dark quite early in the evenings during the winter months. Turn every single light on, even the lamps! You want to show case your home when its cloudy/dark outside and the best way to do that is making your home feel warm and cozy. Get all the accent lights on and make the home bright! EXTRA TIP – have a warm scented diffuser (cinnamon) going or freshly baked cookies out to really make the Buyer’s feel like your home could be theirs.
- Keep the FURNACE ON! – if you’re going away for the winter or for a couple weeks to see family – leave your furnace ON! I have shown way too many homes over the years where the furnace is turned way down or turned off completely. Coming in out of the cold and walking into a house that is barely above 0 degrees doesn’t make the Buyer want to stay and look around. Also, if it’s going to be really cold while your away DONT TURN THE FURNACE OFF. At least once every couple years I show a house when it’s cold and the water lines have frozen/toilet bowls have completely iced up. Not only do you have an expensive repair bill on your hands but the Buyer is running for the hills and your chances of selling this go around dropped to ZERO. Setting the thermostat at 18-19 degrees is just enough to keep the bills down and the chill off.
- Be INFORMATION ready – with snow covering the ground and roof of your home, try to have as much information as possible ready for Buyer’s who may be interested in writing an offer. Prepare a log of your hydro and gas bills for the past year, installation receipts/warranty policies of major home systems and receipts from home maintenance available for the second showing. Create a photo album of the front yard, backyard, patio and pool available to send to your agent.
Of course that is only my top 5 tips, there’s far more about selling your home during the winter season than what I just mentioned but those are things we can discuss in person if you’re thinking of selling this winter. I always strongly encourage a conversation if you’re not sure if you should sell right away or wait till Spring, your home and your situation need to be considered individually. Feel free to reach out to me direct anytime, if you just want to get to know who I am or have a question! Indy Bal 778-220-4639