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Winter gets a bad rap. Lots of people hate the cold months because of short days, freezing temperatures and, depending on where you live, snowstorms.

It also has a reputation as a bad time of the year to sell a home. And while spring is the busiest time of the year, many REALTORS® will share their numerous winter success sales stories. That’s partly because people who are braving the cold weather to look at homes are likely serious buyers who need to purchase a house quickly.

So, preparing an open house during this time of year can be a big help. Here are some tips to maximize your home’s wintertime appeal:

Have a Place for Coats
This is pretty simple, but can be overlooked. While people may be walking in from the cold with wet shoes and coats, gloves, hats and scarves, you want them to be comfortable, but you don’t want them tracking snow and ice through your home. Set up a coat rack and a table for other winter wear. Also, place an indoor/outdoor rug in the entrance so that people can dry their shoes before entering the home.

Offer Some Treats
People get hungry looking at homes, so a snack will be most welcome. You don’t want to go overboard by offering a meal because then everyone will spend their time eating instead of touring your home. Cookies, muffins and cheese and crackers are a great idea, and hot beverages will be appreciated. Hot cider will warm people up and can be enjoyed by both adults and kids.

Make It Warm and Welcoming
Show visitors that your home will be a place of relaxation and comfort during the winter. Set the heat at a comfortable level that’s not stifling hot. Place neatly folded blankets on sofas and chairs so that people can imagine warming up with a blanket while relaxing or watching TV.

Bedrooms can also be winterized, so to speak. Decorate beds with comforters, as patchwork patterns create a homey and particularly warm scene.

Outdoor Staging
One downside to selling in the winter is that it’s a difficult time of year to showcase a beautiful garden or backyard. There are, however, steps you can take to add to your yard’s appeal. Clear snow from entrances to the backyard so that visitors can take a look. If you have an outdoor swing set, clear snow from swings and slides so that people can clearly see it.

With the right touches, winter just might be the season when you find the right buyer for your house.