Tips for Showing Houses in the Winter

When winter weather strikes, you may think it’s time to stop putting your house out there, but don’t worry. You can still successfully show a house in the winter months, but it will take a little extra preparation. In fact, buyers who are shopping in the winter are often highly motivated, because they typically have an urgent need to move during the “off season.” This, combined with fewer houses on the market in many communities, can lead to an easier sale. Here are some tips to help you showcase your home well, even if the snow and ice are hitting your community.

Keep Walkways Clear

Make sure that people who are interested in your home can clearly see the path from driveway to front door. This means shoveling and salting all season long. You need to be proactive about this, even if the snow is actively falling, because footprints from people walking on freshly fallen snow can turn into dangerous ice. Also, keep that “for sale” sign free of snow, so people who drive by know the home is available.

Leave Space for Wet Shoes

Have a space by your front door where potential buyers can leave wet shoes. Most buyers will be respectful enough not to tramp into your home wearing wet shoes, if you provide a spot for them. Be prepared for some extra cleaning, though, because some potential buyers won’t feel comfortable removing their shoes.

Turn on the Lights

When you leave your home for a potential showing, turn on all of the lights. Winter tends to be a darker time of year, and you want your home to show as clearly as possible. In addition, open all blinds and curtains to let in as much natural light as possible.

Make It Warm

Even if you enjoy a little chill in the air during the winter, buyers should feel warm and toasty when they walk in. During showings, increase the thermostat a little higher than usual before buyers arrive, then set it back to your comfort level during the showing to keep the furnace from kicking on while the buyers are in the home.

Take Photos Strategically

If you have the freedom to, take the photos of your home on a day when there is either fresh snow or before the grass dies at the end of fall. The photos will live on the Internet for a while, so you want them to showcase the home well. A dreary yard with half melted snow may cause the home to show poorly.

Selling your home in the winter is possible, and can even be quite successful, but it does require a little strategic planning. With these tips, you can have a successful winter home sale.

Your Guide To November

A highlight of this month’s happenings.

 

 

 

 Veterans Day 

 The Dept. of Veterans Affairs estimates there are around 19 million veterans in the U.S. You probably know one — so hug a vet today!

Are you ready to take your recycling game to the next level? Take the pledge!

 

 

 
Take a Hike Day 

 Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned hiker, find a trail near you and enjoy the scenic wilderness in your area.

  

 

 Education Support Professionals Day 

 Show some love to your school’s front office staff, bus drivers, security staff, and other support staff who contribute to a child’s education.

 


Thanksgiving 

 The practice of sending turkeys to the White House began in the 1870s. In 1989, George H.W. Bush granted the first official turkey “pardon.”

 

 

 

​​Small Business Saturday 

 Support neighborhood businesses during one of the busiest shopping weekends in the year by choosing to shop local.

 

 

While nearly any warmer-than-usual day in fall is often called Indian summer, a true Indian summer must have these traits:

  • Occurs between Nov. 11 and Nov. 20

  • Warm weather following a period of true cold weather or a hard frost

  • A hazy atmosphere

  • Clear and cool nights, in significant contrast to the daytime temperatures

Produce in season this month includes apples, arugula, bok choy, cauliflower, chard, endive, leeks, onions, parsnips, pears, pumpkins, radishes, and spinach.

 

 

Your Guide to October

Key dates for a fun, festive month!

 

National Taco Day

Seek out your favorite taco stand and chow down on this Mexican staple. ¡Delicioso!

 

 

 

 

Fire Prevention Day

 Part of Fire Prevention Week, this day commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and reminds us to always practice fire safety.

 

 

 

National Chess Day

Did you know? The longest recorded chess game took over 20 hours, consisted of 269 moves, and ended in a draw!

 

 

 

 

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

 Seven states currently celebrate a variation of this day as an alternative to Columbus Day.

 

 

Unity Day/National Stop Bullying Fall

Wear orange today to show you’re part of the solution and to unite with others to support anti-bullying efforts.

 

 

 

 

 Halloween

 Have a safe and sweet-filled Halloween!

 

 

 

 

 

October is the chosen month to commemorate all different types of food: from sausage and seafood, American cheese, chili, and cookies, to pasta, pork, pretzels, and pizza. Now you have an excuse to indulge in your favorite dishes

It’s also Adopt a Shelter Dog month. Adopt, don’t shop, and provide a needy fur baby with a forever home. You may even enjoy reduced adoption fees this month at your local shelter.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) both kick off their seasons in October.

 

Your Guide to September

Goodbye summer, hello fall!

 

National Wildlife Day

The U.S. has over 1,300 endangered species.* Be an advocate for wildlife by supporting your local zoo or animal sanctuary and educating others to do the same.

 

 


Grandparents’ Day

There’s nothing like the bond between grandparents and their grandchildren. Learn how you can #DoSomethingGrand at grandparentsday.org.

 

 


Patriot Day

Help turn a day of tragedy into a day of doing good. Make a positive impact by volunteering on this National Day of Service and Remembrance.

 

 

National Cleanup Day

Whether it’s picking up just one piece of trash or joining a team cleanup event, do your part to keep Mother Nature litter-free.

 

 

First Day of Fall

“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.” — Stanley Horowitz

 

 


 Rosh Hashanah Begins

Two days of introspection and jubilation usher in the Jewish New Year and begin the 10 days of penitence that end with Yom Kippur.

 

 

 

 

September is Hispanic Heritage Month — an invitation to celebrate Hispanic and Latino culture across America and recognize the numerous ways Hispanic Americans have contributed to our nation.

Pro football is back! The NFL opening game kicks off Thursday, September 5.

On September 5, 1774, the first Continental Congress was called to order, serving as the first government of the 13 colonies and eventually the United States.

 

Low-Cost Staging Tips and Why They Work

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First impressions are everything–especially in real estate. When buyers tour a home it better look its best, or buyers will quickly move on to the next.

Furnishing the space helps potential buyers visualize their life within the walls. And, bonus points, staged properties sell on average 73% faster than non staged homes.To help you out, we rounded up a list of successfully staged homes that have used price-conscious or zero-cost strategies to make your listing look great without breaking the bank.

1. Clutter-Free

The last thing you want when you’re showing a home is for personal items (ahem, toothbrushes) to distract your clients. You want potential buyers to envision their own belongings in the space, not fixate on the current owner’s hair filled hairbrush.

In occupied homes it is crucial that sellers are on board with hiding clutter and personal belongings when it’s time for photography and showings.

 2. Furniture That Fits the Space

It’s probably common sense that a 600 sq ft condo shouldn’t be furnished with the same living room furniture as a 2,500 sq ft family home. When working with a smaller space, consider the appropriate size of furniture for the space. Oversized furniture makes rooms feel crowded and  well sized furniture creates the illusion of a larger space.

If your client already has a living room set, think about splitting up the sofa and loveseat into two seperate rooms to maximize resources and space. Also discuss rearranging furniture in order to create the best flow of the space.

3. Minimalistic Decor

Less really is more when it comes to staging. You want to keep the focus on the bones of the house, not the superficial  decorations. You want the space to appeal to a larger group of potential buyers.

4. Real House Plants

There are many benefits to real plants versus fake ones. For starters, fake plants are actually more expensive than their living counterparts. You can buy real house plants at your local stores for under $20. Also, live house plants won’t become dusty over time (not cute!).

Plants are perfect for vacant and non vacant houses, they add life to any space. You can even give them to the buyer as a congratulatory gift once the deal is closed.

5. Neutral Rooms

It’s difficult to envision how you are going to style the guest bedroom when it’s painted bubblegum pink with ‘Princess’ hanging over the bed. Moral of the story: Buyers want to be able to walk into a room and not have to worry about all of the things they will have to change later on.

Your clients might resist painting before listing, but it is best practice to prepare a neutral space.  White walls might seem dull, but they act as a metaphorical blank canvas for buyers to paint their life onto.

6. A Lived-In Feel

There is a fine line between a house that feels over-staged (cue the giant bowl of 20 lemons in the dining room), and a well curated home. Adding thoughtful accessories makes the house feel lived in and more attractive to buyers.

The key is to be authentic. Think of what you would actually use in the space, like beautiful utensils or local magazines (pictured above). It is a good idea to keep a stash of staging items handy for final touches–A stack of books or a lit candle goes a long way.

7. Natural Light

Do not underestimate the power of ambient lighting. Place furniture around windows so sunlight can shine through and brighten up the room. Sunlight in a home can physiologically influence our happiness without us even knowing. If you have a killer view, be sure to show it off by positioning furniture so it is the focal point of the room.

If your client has dark window treatments, switch to a sheer white option or remove them altogether. Letting in daylight will immediately elevate the space.

8. Mirror, Mirror

Mirrors create the illusion of a larger space, making even the smallest rooms feel open and inviting. Mirrors reflect the light in the room and intensifies its design power. Plus, they are useful!

Oversized mirrors can be expensive but overstock stores like Homegoods have great options at serious discounts. Plus, they can be reused for future staging.

9. Al Fresco Approved

Residential architects have ranked outdoor living spaces as the no. 1 “special function” room amongst consumers. Potential buyers see outdoor areas as an extension of living space and should be staged accordingly.

Investing in a small patio set for staging purposes if your client doesn’t own one might get the listing sold even faster. Extra points if you add a nice bouquet of fresh flowers.

Staging a home can be hard work, and it can take some creativity to get results without breaking the bank. Investing time upfront will get you a better results in the end.

 

Your Guide To August

Wrap up summer with these key dates.

 

National Night Out

A night of neighborhood block parties designed to promote stronger, safer communities. Find a local event near you

 

 


Purple Heart Day

Recognizes recipients of the Purple Heart Medal — the oldest military decoration — which is awarded to soldiers wounded or killed in combat.

 

 

 

National Garage Sale Day

One person’s junk is another person’s treasure! Plan a successful garage sale with these tips.

 

 

International Youth Day

This year’s “Transforming Education” theme highlights the need for inclusive and accessible education for young people across the globe.

 

 

 

National Nonprofit Day

A day dedicated to all the charitable organizations that exist to make the world a better place. How can you give back?

 

 

Senior Citizens Day

“The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” — Frank Lloyd Wright

 

 

 

 

Sandwiched between the Summer Blockbuster season and the back-to-school rush, August is considered a “dump month” for movie releases.

On August 9, 1974, Richard Nixon resigned from the presidency following the Watergate scandal.

This year’s U.S. Open runs Aug. 26 through Sept. 8. Game, set, match!

August is the birth month of Lucille Ball, Louis Armstrong, Neil Armstrong, and Julia Child.