With the cold weather coming in, snow will soon be another factor in our every day life. And while we should be used to it, selling a house when snow is in the forecast, can provide some challenges. Not only that, snowfall can create havoc on a home that is on the market. From icy walkways, snow-covered roofs and driveways, a seller needs to be on top of snow removal in order for a buyer to easily see their home.
So how much harder is it to sell a home in the winter as opposed to the other three seasons? Each have challenges, however, with winter, it does take some advance planning to prepare if a snowfall and freezing weather are in the forecast.
Snow Roof Removal
If you are wondering how much weight your roof can handle when it’s covered in snow, consider this: Wet snow is much heavier than dry, fluffy snow. In fact, six inches of dry snow weighs as much as 38 inches of wet snow. The weight is what is critical in determining if excessive snow accumulates on your roof. The last thing any seller wants to happen during this time of year is an old roof that can’t handle the weight. If your roof is built to code, then it’s built to support more than the normal load of snow and ice, however, it still needs to be removed. This is a job you should not do by yourself. In fact, most home roofs aren’t readily accessible, making this an incredibly dangerous and difficult job for those who want to save some money and attempt themselves. But the truth is, people die every year doing this sort of job, so call a professional snow removal contractor to do the job correctly and safely. Naturally, make sure they are licensed and insured. The goal won’t be to remove all the snow on the roof’s surface, but just enough to relieve any excess weight on the roof.
Snow And Ice
It’s quite simple: if the buyer can’t get into your home easily, then it won’t sell. The last thing a buyer wants to do is walk through frozen, ice-covered pathways that not only make it dangerous, but can be expensive if a buyer decides to pursue medical costs if they should fall and break a bone. Make sure that all paths and driveways are free from snow. Consider this winter landscaping which is just as critical as mowing the lawn in the summer. You want to make sure the house looks well-kept. If it is difficult to maintain a plowed driveway or sidewalk, then consider hiring a service. Imagine if you have an unexpected showing yet you are away and unable to plow, salt or shovel outside. It may be well worth the cost and one less thing to worry about.
Turn On The Heat
Like visitors coming into your home on a cold day, make your buyers feel welcome. While sellers don’t like to turn on the heat while they are away at work or on vacation, it is important that buyers feel comfortable, which will make them want to stay awhile. If they are cold, they are looking for the exit. Adjust the heat to a pleasant temperature – not too hot or too cold. If you leave the property right before the buyer arrives, then consider leaving a gas fireplace on if applicable. With wood burning fireplaces, you need to be careful and only do so if you don’t need to worry about safety concerns.
Emphasize The Season
When showing a house in the winter, a buyer really doesn’t want to see summer accessories. So add a warm throw to the sofa, add seasonal candles (but don’t light) where needed and create a comfortable and cozy ambiance to your home. Create an atmosphere where the buyer will say, “This is the perfect retreat for a cold, winter day.”
Set Up Timers
Buyers like to think that they were expected, so set up timers that automatically turn on lamps inside the home. Also, make sure any outdoor lighting, such as those by the front door are turned on as well. You are not going to be home all of the time, but buyers want to feel welcome. Seeing a home carefully illuminated creates a valuable first impression.
Create A Winter Book
If you live in an area near great skiing, or any other popular winter sport or activity, then make sure your buyers are aware of it. Believe it or not, winter weather can be a selling point, as not all buyers are immune to the cold. By promoting a ski lodge nearby, that could be a selling point to many buyers.
During the winter months, a house is often in lock down mode, which means that windows are tightly shut and doors open only briefly. Make sure that your home doesn’t smell of smoke, musty odors or pet smells. Avoid cooking anything that will have a lingering aroma, such as fish or anything with heavy garlic. And don’t overdo it with the good smells either. Too much cinnamon or vanilla is offensive to many buyers. What smells do buyers like the most? An aroma of a freshly cleaned house.
If you live in a home with incredible views, then make sure your windows sparkle so buyers will notice. And by all means, push back the drapes during the day to bring in the light. Grimy looking windows just won’t cut it.
Selling a home happens 365 days a year. While putting a Windsor property on the market in the winter is not often ideal, not all buyers can wait until spring or summer to buy a home. There are many buyers looking, and the majority of them want to buy a home sooner rather than later. Make your home stand out and put a little additional effort into it so it not only looks appealing, but buyers can feel like they have arrived home.