The winter is the slow season for Real Estate. Generally buyers are just initiating the home-buying process, and are considerably more “selective” due to the fact that they only recently started looking at rentals or sale homes and may not be ready to make a decision right away. Because of this, you need to find ways to capture the attention of those home buyers or renters that are ready to make a decision NOW. Here are some tips for staging your property during the colder months that are sure to improve the quality of your property showings.
1. Make it Cozy and Warm
Before showing your property, adjust the heat to create a comfortable temperature. Potential buyers who are not comfortable in the home won't sick around for a long time. Be careful with fireplaces, expecially wood-burning units. If the house is vacant, don't take any chances. But if you're still living there and have the opportunity to get a quaint fire going before they arrive, it can be a very nice touch.
2. Ensure The Home Is Well-Lit
Encourage showing during the high-daylight hours. And make the most of all the natural light you can. This means opening curtains and blinds as wide as possible. A brightly lit house is more welcoming – and adding natural light will keep buyers comfortable, inciting them to stay around and look longer. If the home is vacant, consider timers for the switches so they turn on when the buyers enter.
3. Make it Smell Delicious
The showing process is all about first impressions. And one of the largest turn-offs can be a foul or unfamiliar odor inside a house. Try to burn candles within the home, or add a nice homey scent if possible, like the smell of fresh baked cookies. But don't overdo it. Adding too much aroma to the space can leave buyers wondering if you're trying to mask something. If you have friendly pets, leave them in the home, but definitely keep the animals clean and odor-free.
4. Set The Mood – with Music
This might sound a little corny, but it works! Playing music softly in the background creates the same mood for prospective home buyers as it does for your normal invited guests. Try something neutral and soothing, like classical or ambient music. And avoid cranking the volume up too high.
5. Make It Feel Like a Home
Set the scene for happy living. You might put a nice throw on the sofa or draw back the thick comforter on the bed. Think “Martha Stewart Living”. You might set out a few family photos, or set up a nice table setting at the main dining area. Consider leaving a plate of cookies out, or bottled water - with a simple note inviting them to help themselves. These things will make them feel at home in your space. At the very least, they'll remember the experience, which is exactly the effect you're seeking.
6. Wash Your Windows
Buyers can be finicky. In the wintertime, light from the South can make even relatively clean windows look dirty, drawing negative attention to them. Avoid knee-jerk reactions and undue mis-perceptions about the pride of ownership. Take the time to clean your windows thoroughly before allowing the home to be shown.