Like us, you may have already succumbed to the chillier weather. Whether that’s putting the heating on or wrapping up in front of the fire, it’s fair to say that we are now in the midst of winter. West Sussex even had a dusting of snow over the weekend! In fact, the only thing that is warm at the moment without the aid of a hot water bottle is our local property market, as intense demand from purchasers continues.
Despite the cold however, Winter is actually a prime time to be selling your property (click here to see how website traffic skyrockets over the festive season), but in order to attract eager buyers, you need to make sure your home dazzles in photographs and on viewings, especially when it’s looking miserable outside. Presentation is absolutely key to finding a buyer quickly and achieving a successful sale, so here are a few things to think about to ‘winter stage’ your home and make it look as appealing as possible, inside and out. Remember, you only get one chance to make a good first impression…!
Make your home cosy
Winter is a great time to make a home feel warm and cozy – something that potential buyers will love. Fireplaces are great for this, so if you’re lucky enough to have one, light the fire and let it glow – this allows people to imagine curling up on a cold winter’s evening with a good movie or a book. Scented candles provide a welcoming mood – cinnamon and vanilla are perfect for the festive season and aren’t too overpowering. Extra throws, pillows and blankets neatly placed work well too, along with winter flower arrangements positioned in key rooms and table centre pieces with winter greenery.
Turn the heating on
Don’t forget to turn the heating on a few hours before people arrive for viewings. You don’t want potential buyers shivering as soon as they arrive. If you have a fire, light it to add to the cosy ambiance.
Sweep away evidence of winter indoors
Keep doorways clear of fallen leaves, snow, twigs, mud and so on – a particular regular occurrence if you have dogs at home. It’s very easy to bring the outdoors indoors at this time of year, but nothing a hoover and a sweep can’t fix.
Clean and tidy up
This goes without saying. You’ll need to deep clean absolutely everywhere as buyers will notice. This includes your oven, fridge, cupboard doors, skirting boards, bathrooms, floors, curtains, door handles and kitchen surfaces. Also hoover regularly as winter tends to mean more mud and leaves in the house, declutter including all of your wellies and winter boots stacked up by the front door, and neatly tidy away tools and toys.
Winter means darker days and low levels of natural light, so you need to make sure your home is looking as bright as possible. Invest in higher wattage bulbs, turn all of your lights on, open all of your curtains and blinds, and remove any large objects blocking natural light coming in. The glow of table lamps and candles are always a nice touch too to create that extra warm wintery feeling.
Keep Christmas decorations tasteful
If your home is on the market over Christmas, keep decorations tasteful and simple.
Spruce up your winter garden
Just because it’s winter it doesn’t mean you have to stop the gardening. The earlier you can sort out garden maintenance, the better it will look in the colder harsher months of winter. Our tips would be to trim back trees and bushes and remove your dead summer plants. Keep on top of raking up the leaves. Tidy away children’s toys and your tools, and add a few colourful planted pots or bedded plants to add a bit of creative flair. Make sure your garden furniture is neatly presented too – especially given alfresco dining is at the top of many buyers’ wishlists now as a result of covid-19. Furthermore, clear your guttering, drainpipes and drains from loose foliage.
The front of your house is the first thing a buyer will see on a viewing, so curb appeal is just as important in winter as it is in summer. Spruce up the area with warm décor such as a lantern, a doormat and a pinecone wreath for the full winter effect. Don’t forget to check that the path to your front door is ice/snow-free before any visitors arrive – you don’t want to be the cause of any broken bones! And make sure the outside of your property looks well maintained and your windows are clean as well.
Hire a home stager
Home staging used to be a popular concept for luxurious developers in Mayfair, but it’s also proving very handy for owner occupiers too in order to help sell unfurnished properties quickly and for a great price. Empty homes can feel soulless for buyers, especially when it’s cold, wet and dreary outside. Many struggle to envision what their potential new home could look like if there’s nothing in it, so home staging is a perfect solution. It involves a stylist visiting your property before you have any photographs taken, where they will recommend how you can optimise its appearance in key rooms as well as outside. They’ll suggest renting a particular style of furniture and accessories to help bring a bit of life into your home, but will tailor it to your target audience so that it will appeal to the maximum number of buyers. It may seem like an additional cost, but the expense of engaging a stager is usually more cost effective than reducing the price of your home because you can’t sell it.