Winter will be here soon and if history is any indication, New England may soon resemble a Currier & Ives postcard! Although the beauty of our wintry wonderland is legendary, ice and snow can complicate nearly every facet of our lives. The Real Estate “Spring” Market, believe it or not, begins in early January! This is Real Estate’s busiest season and with record low inventory, we are expecting this year’s spring market to start early and be extremely busy and productive.
If you have your house on the market or plan on listing your house, there are certainly additional steps you will need to follow to allow your house to shine in the midst of a potentially harsh winter. Be sure to follow these steps to make your selling experience a more positive one, and ensure that your house is prepared to welcome potential buyers during showings and open houses.
- Mind the holidays – During the winter, people tend to set milestones to make the winter pass more quickly. People look forward to the next holiday to get them through the season, which you should keep in mind when decorating your home. Keep the decorations joyous and timely without going overboard. Be sure to take them down in a timely manner as well. It will give people a sense of comfort!
- It’s all about the atmosphere – In addition to the decorations, you should do everything you can to created a welcoming and cozy atmosphere. Be sure to turn on the lights throughout the house to dispel the winter gloom. Consider making a fire in the fireplace, set out coffee, hot chocolate, tea or cider for your open houses. Keep the house at a warm temperature. Make your guests feel as at home as possible.
- If you are away for the winter - Entrust your home to a caretaker that will make sure your home feels “lived in”. Put the caretaker in touch with your realtor so he/she will know about showings or open houses. Ask him to regulate the temperature accordingly.
- Keep your walkways and driveway clear – Ice and snow are seasonal hazards that must be addressed, not only to avoid unnecessary injuries but to prevent any legal action resulting from a fall. It is the sellers’ obligation to make sure paths to the house are safe and clear.
- Don’t forget to clean your gutters - Ice, snow and the frigid temperatures can really do some damage. Make sure you have cleared the autumn leaves out of your gutters before the hard weather hits and keep an eye on your gutters to avoid ice damming, a common problem in this neck of the woods.
- Display photos of the house in nicer weather – It’s great to let buyers visualize what the house and grounds look like during more temperate seasons. It can be difficult for buyers to get a good look at the yard and garden so your photos can be very reassuring. I often joke with my buyers when I call them in April to see how they like the patio they never saw when they bought in January!
- Plant seasonal planters – Nothing is more welcoming than beautiful greens flanking the front door. And, thanks to the cool weather, most greens will last the season! An easy adornment that packs a big punch.
- Welcome mats inside and out – Winter can make a big mess when slush, salt and sand come into the picture. Protect your wood floors by using a high quality mat outdoors to capture most of the grime and another inside for the rest. Keep towels handy (but hidden) to clean up the mess.
- Shoes on or off - You can ask people to remove their shoes or boots but you cannot force them. Be aware that legally, if a guest slips on your stairs or slippery wood floors, you can be liable, especially if you’ve asked him to remove his shoes. Booties are available but the same rule applies.
- Make sure salt and sand is available – It’s important to stock plenty of salt and sand for inclement weather. Make sure your realtor knows where to find it if the weather worsens after you have left the house for showings and open houses. And of course, keep a broom handy to clean up the mess they make!
Debi Benoit, principal of Benoit Mizner Simon & Co., has been Wellesley’s #1 real estate agent since 2006. The Wall Street Journal twice ranked her among the top 100 real estate professionals in the country. With offices in Wellesley and Weston, Benoit Mizner Simon & Co provides buyers and sellers in both markets with in-depth knowledge and experience combined with unparalleled client service.
With offices in Wellesley and Weston, Debi can be reached at 617-962-9292 or email@example.com.