You’ve probably heard the rumor that selling your home in the winter is not a good idea. We have pretty cold winters here in Toronto and this year is one of the worst. The myth is that home buyers just aren’t looking for a home this time of the year. But that’s not true at all.
In my experience (and I’ve been in the Real Estate field a long time), it’s an excellent time of the year to put your home for sale for one really good reason. Other people are waiting to sell their home until the weather is warmer. What does that mean for you; less competition! People are still looking in the winter but they have less to choose from than in the summer.
This winter may draw in quite a few more buyers because of The Bank of Canada reducing their interest rate recently.
What should you consider when preparing your home for sale in the winter months?
Safety; we get snow and ice, so safety is important. You will be having people come to your home anxious to get their first look at what might be their perfect home. Make sure your driveway and walkways are clear of snow and ice. If you can’t completely remove the ice then put down some salt. This will melt the ice and is less likely to stick to visitors shoes and be tracked into your home.
It Gets Dark Earlier; in the winter months it gets darker much earlier than in the summer. Leave the lights on so a potential home buyer can and see their way around. Don’t forget the lights by the front door, back door and any patio doors, turn them on inside and outside. If they stumble by the front door they could potentially get hurt or think it’s hard to get into the house if they miss a step when it’s just a lighting issue.
Take a look around your home at night and any key area’s that you would like to showcase to a home buyer, light it up. If there isn’t a light in some of these areas go buy one. Buyers don’t buy what they can’t see.
Temp of the Home; your home may be warm to you because that’s the temperature your body is used to. Don’t forget that home buyers have been out in the cold and appreciate feeling warmer as soon as they get indoors again. It also shows that the furnace works really well.
Dusty Business; Change the furnace filter to help eliminate the dust. Winter naturally produces more dust and since we don’t open our windows, it settles everywhere. Cleaning the furnace filter helps lessen the dust in your home. This also helps for potential buyers that may have allergies.
Wet Boots; Place something at the front door for the boots or shoes of interested buyers. They don’t want to step in the snow that came off of their footwear and you don’t want them making a mess of your floors either. A rubber mat is a good idea and a small area rug to keep the feet warm if you have tile at the entrance way.
Show the Curb Appeal; there’s usually not much curb appeal in the winter, everything is looking sort of drab and your gardens are all covered up. So how do you show a potential buyer how beautiful your gardens or walkways are? Most of us have cell phones with cameras built in, you may have some summer shots in there or some pics of previous summers you had printed off. These pictures make a great display of how summers in your home look. A good tip is to enlarge them a bit if your gardens or walkways are a big highlight. Don’t go huge on the images but a 5X7 on the best ones would really stand out.
Price; can you get more or less in the winter? The price is still based on the current market not the season.
How’s the competition? As I mentioned above, you will have far less competition than you will in the summer. And as most of us know the market is flooded in the spring. Take advantage of fewer sellers in the winter. There are quite a few buyers that would like to be in their new home before the spring or summer so they can enjoy it in their new home. (These are the buyers that will benefit by those pictures I mentioned earlier)
Don’t let winter be the deciding factor for selling your home. Consider the current market, competition and interest rates. If you are selling a house in Ottawa or Orleans, contact us and we can help you put a plan in place to find the perfect buyer for your home not matter what the season.