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Although many homeowners traditionally wait for spring to list their home—the peak home-shopping season—there are several good reasons to sell in the winter. For example, buyers searching in winter tend to be much more serious and motivated to buy than spring shoppers. Selling a home in winter can be a bit of a different ball game, but you can improve your chances of success by knowing what to expect and planning your sale.

Curb Appeal Is a Must
Drab weather and gray skies make it more important than ever to make your home eye-catching. First impressions count, so help your home stand out from the gloomy environment with simple landscaping and colorful cold weather plants on the front porch. Be sure to address any signs of deferred maintenance by caulking the windows and repairing any damaged seals.

Set the Mood
As buyers walk into the home, they should immediately feel a sense of comfort. Make sure it’s nice and warm. You can stage your home carefully with seasonal touches like stacked wood at the fireplace and throw blankets. During the winter, days get shorter and the sun sets earlier, which can make it challenging to show your home in its best light. Install additional lighting in rooms that seem dim.

Focus on Heating and Energy Costs
Winter homebuyers pay extra attention to issues related to home maintenance and heating. Make sure your roof, HVAC system and furnace are inspected, and take care of any maintenance issues, like replacing your furnace air filters and cleaning out the fireplace.

Many winter buyers also take into account heating costs when considering a home, especially if you live in a cold weather area. This may be the ideal time to look into cost-effective upgrades like energy-efficient systems and windows, as well as new insulation, to cut your utility bills.

Stay on Top of Snow Removal
A unique challenge for home sellers in many regions during the winter is dealing with the snow and ice. It’s vital that buyers have a clear and safe path into your home, but you also need a plan to keep visitors from tracking a mess throughout the house. Stay on top of snow by shoveling the walkways often and sprinkling the path with sidewalk salt or sand for traction. When it’s wet outside, add a rubber mat near the front door for shoes.

Use Spring Photos
For the best effect, marketing photos for your home should be done before the trees lose their leaves and the temperature drops. This way, buyers can see what your home will look like in other seasons when the landscaping is green and beautiful. Photos of barren, snow-covered ground and bare trees simply aren’t as compelling.

Although selling in winter may require tweaking your strategy a bit, it can help you attract more serious buyers and even net you more from a sale as long as you know what to expect.

Source: Cary Teller/RISMedia’s Housecall

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