Many people believe that winter is the hardest time of year to try and sell their house. While it’s true that sellers can’t showcase their colorful warm-weather landscaping, there are plenty of other things you can highlight.
The good news about selling in the winter is that the people out looking are typically very serious buyers with a clear timeline in mind for purchasing a home. Add to this the benefit of less competition to deal with as other sellers wait for the crowded spring market.
One key marketing activity is to hold an open house. What can you do to make an endearing impression of your fabulous house that offsets any winter doldrums?
Make prospective buyers feel like welcome guests and present your house as though you are hosting a special gathering for family and friends. While your agent highlights all the selling points, the special effort you make will give an enchanting edge toward a special intangible attraction you want buyers to feel that I like to call chemistry!
Start by planning ahead as you would for a big party.
Excite with Winter Curb Appeal
Let buyers see from the street what a warm, charming, romantic and inviting place this will be when they come in.
Consider ideas like a planter or two with colorful evergreen plants and branches, window boxes or hanging baskets.
A bench or trellis can add a nice focal point and polished look to an otherwise bare area. A brightly colored chair and new welcome mat can go a long way toward creating a fresh look. Here are some photos of welcoming winter homes and a historic winter home for further inspiration.
If there’s snow on the ground, a well-shoveled driveway and path are an absolute must. The last thing you want to do is make visitors feel like it’s a treacherous hardship to get to your house, or worse, let them risk injury. If parking is tight, clearing some space along the street is also a good idea.
Of course, an adorable snowman fully adorned with your most innovative accessories, and maybe an open house sign can help to set the tone! Consider leaving some outdoor lights on for an added welcoming glow on an overcast day. On a practical note, you may want to have a basket of booties inside the front door to keep your house clean.
Make it Delightful and Warm Inside
Think about what makes you feel warm and fuzzy when you visit a friend’s house for a winter get together and aim to delight all the senses.
Light a fire in the fireplace or light candles (real or artificial) on a dining room table and in the bathrooms, simmer apple cider with cinnamon on the stove. play some nostalgic music.
Implement some whimsical touches, such as displaying a card game, a recipe book for creative holiday drinks or hanging brightly colored winter scarves or hats on hooks in a mudroom.
If it’s the holiday season, display festive touches with glass, silver, and natural materials for an elegant, romantic look that will have the broadest appeal. Avoid commercial decorations and religious symbols that may distract, turn off or offend some people.
Use photos to showcase key features of the home that may be hidden during the winter such as colorful gardens, scenic views, a furnished deck or patio or beautiful pool. Show pictures of the house across all seasons. This can be done with an open photo album or by framing and hanging a few beautiful photos around the house.
Invite the Guests!
Last, but not least, with your preparations under way, your agent can feel confident about promoting your wonderful open house. They can get the word out near and far with an ad in the paper, special door-hanger invites to the neighbors to come for the first hour, posts to all the social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, a published Event on Facebook to which guests can be invited, the date published on all the real estate websites and the MLS, a bulletin in your town’s local Patch.com and on your agent’s blog, and of course, plenty of signs leading the way!
If you wonder about the benefits of having an open house, take a look at the discussion of “Open House Pros and Cons” and feel free to leave a comment on the page.
If you have more ideas for hosting a magical open house, please share them below!