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Selling Your Home in the Off-Season: Tips for Staging and Showing in the Winter

Summer is considered the busiest time of year for real estate, but just because you have to list your home in the off-season doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck. There are many advantages to putting your home on the market in the winter. Some analysts believe it’s the best time of year for sellers because there is less competition on the market and a greater sense of urgency among buyers because only people who are serious about purchasing a home are trekking out and touring properties in the cold. When you sell in the winter, the overall process tends to be quicker, making it easy to start the new year off with a fresh start.

With all that in mind, there are some disadvantages to winter real estate. Shorter, darker days and bad weather don’t exactly highlight your home in its best light. The home’s curb appeal can be diminished if the winter chill leaves your lawn and garden dormant. Furthermore, it’s a hectic endeavor to take on during the already busy holidays. If you want to attract buyers to your home, try the following staging and showing tips to create interest.

How to Sell Your Home in Winter

Staging is an important process that involves cleaning, decluttering, and decorating a house so it appeals to the largest audience possible. If you want to sell your home during the winter, stage it with the season in mind. While you should avoid too many decorations and religious memorabilia (remember the importance of depersonalizing), a few touches here and there that remind people of what they love about the season are great.

Make sure your home is plenty warm and cozy anytime you show your home and consider adding some lovely winter-themed fragrance naturally with holiday simmering potpourri. Turn on all the lights you can, and open the curtains and drapes to let in natural light that contrasts against the darkness this time of year. Whenever you’re showing your home, make sure to find ways to show off the coziest spaces — reading nooks, home theater, converted basement — so potential buyers can imagine themselves cuddling up on winter nights.

Buyers want to think about where they’re going to put their items and furniture, so don’t underestimate the importance of removing clutter. An added benefit of decluttering is you get the packing process underway sooner. Since you’re going to be busy enough with selling your home, consider hiring professional packers to help out. Make sure to go online to compare packing companies and prices.

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you don’t have to do a little work in the yard to improve curb appeal. Try the following tips to make sure your home’s first impression is strong:

● Make sure your home is visible behind trees, shrubs, and snow. Trim back hedges, and remove any overgrown vegetation that creates shadows and diminishes your home’s curb appeal. Adding mulch to flower beds and perimeters is a great way to introduce a bit of color while insulating the soil to protect plants’ roots. Also, make sure your driveway and any sidewalks in front of or around the house are shoveled.

● Clear away any lawn ornaments and furniture. They look out of place during the winter and only clutter up your curb appeal with visual noise. After all, you want the front of your house to look clean and composed.

● Add more outdoor lights to brighten up the exterior and eliminate shadows. If you have walkways, invest in some solar lawn lanterns that harness energy from the sun then automatically illuminate when it starts to get dark. Having a lit walkway is a great way to welcome potential buyers if they stop by and the sun is already going down.

Winter may seem like the worst time of year to put a house on the market, but the truth is it can be great for sellers. There tends to be less competition, and people who are shopping for a home in the off-season experience a greater sense of urgency to buy. To attract buyers, stage your home with the season in mind — and don’t neglect your curb appeal.

About the Author:

Suzie Wilson is an interior designer with more than 20 years experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style.

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