Critical winter home staging tips

Debbie Wysocki, Realtor ®, GRI, CLHMS
Published on December 28, 2017

Critical winter home staging tips

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Winter home sales don’t have to be as challenging as you may think. Sure, the sun isn’t always shining and you may be contending with snow and ice in your landscaping, but we’ve got some hacks to help cozy up your home, making it über-inviting to winter house hunters.

It may be winter, but curb appeal still matters

What will your potential buyer see when he or she drives up to the curb in front of your home? This is known as curb appeal and it’s one of the most important aspects of home staging.

Curb appeal is, after all, what will either encourage the buyer to get out of the car or to drive off to the next listing.

While there’s not a lot you can do if there’s snow on the ground, there are several, subtle updates you can make that will appeal to buyers.

  • Purchasing a new set of house numbers will make a big difference, especially in winter. Bigger is better so your house is easily recognizable.

 

  • Invest in new door mats. Consider a seasonal option, and you may want to have a second mat ready for showings in case the daily one looks a little worse for the wear as a result of the weather.

 

  • Ensure that the porch, driveway and walkways remain clear of snow and ice.

 

  • Paint the front door an eye-catching color. Zillow’s 2017 Paint Color Analysis finds that

“doors painted in shades of dark navy blue to slate gray sold for $1,514 more.”

  • Add life to the front porch in the form of plants in attractive pots.

 

  • Consider adding additional outdoor lighting. When they consider lighting, most sellers confine their efforts to the home’s interior. While it’s crucial to have good lighting indoors, don’t neglect your outdoor lighting strategy.

 

Home sellers tend to ignore backyard home features when readying their homes for the winter market. After all, they’re typically only used during the balmier times of the year. Don’t let winter discourage you from showing them off, though.

Create a vignette as if it were 70 degrees and the sun is shining. If it’s not snowing, scrub the grill and leave it open. Set the patio table for an outdoor barbecue. Leave the hot tub running during showings.

The entry way

If you have time to do nothing more before dashing off to work in the morning, tidy the entry way. After curb appeal, the portal to the rest of the home sets the tone for the entire visit.

It should be clean, of course, and free of clutter. Remove the keys and other items that tend to get dropped on the table, the boots that get kicked off at the door and anything else that tends to end up just inside the front door.

Run the vacuum or a mop over the floor and consider adding fresh flowers or a live plant to add a pop of life to the area.

 Maximize light

The right lighting in a home helps draw attention where you want it, creates mood and ambience, alleviates shadows and highlights textures, according to the American Lighting Association (ALA).

Even during the sunniest times of the year, real estate agents recommend that home sellers maximize the light inside the home. Typically, this involves leaving the window coverings open and turning on all the lights in the home.

Of course, you’ll want clean windows to allow what little sunlight there may be to reach the interior of the home. In winter, however, there is less sunlight, so you’ll need to get creative with your lighting.

Do an inventory of your home’s artificial light sources. Lighting professionals recommend “layered lighting,” which includes overhead, task and accent lighting. Include all three in your lighting scheme.

Aim for a higher wattage for your light fixtures. HGTV experts recommend “100 watts for each 50 square feet.”

Strategically placed mirrors will reflect nearby light so consider adding some to your decorating scheme.

Subtle accessories make a difference

Drape a throw over the arm of the sofa or the back of a chair, add a fluffy comforter to the foot of the bed and scatter richly-colored area rugs to create a cozier ambiance.

Keep in mind that excessive holiday décor will take the buyers’ focus off of the features you want them to notice, so keep it to a minimum. Some twinkly lights, vases of winter greenery and bowls of sparkly tree ornaments set the mood without distraction and without alienating buyers.

Winter doesn’t have to be a challenging time to sell a home. Think like a decorator and your home will be the belle of the winter real estate market.

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