How to Make a Winter Open House Successful
Dreary winter days aren’t ideal for open houses. Unfortunately, many homeowners can’t afford to wait for spring to unload their properties. If you are planning to show a home during the colder months, learn the best ways to warm buyers up for a sale.
- Clear driveways and walkways. Be sure to shovel the walkway and driveway to clear a safe path for prospective buyers. Not only will this elevate the appearance of the home and improve the attitude of a buyer, it may protect you from liability costs related to slips and falls.
- Clear the sidewalk too. Don’t make buyers walk down the block in knee-high snow. Create a clear path to your house by shoveling the sidewalk in front of the property too.
- Maintain a comfortable temperature. Adjust the thermostat so it doesn’t get too cold. You should also remember that buyers will be wearing coats when they visit, so don’t get overzealous and make things too hot.
- Let the sun shine in. Draw back all the curtains and allow natural light to flow into the home. If there is snow on the ground, the sun will reflect with more intensity and make the interior feel even brighter. Winter sunlight peaks between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., so plan your showings accordingly.
- Create a sense of coziness. Promote a warm, inviting feel by lighting a fire in fireplace or by strategically placing seasonal decor. You can also spruce up the property’s exterior by asking the owners to place ornamental cabbages, poinsettias, mums or other hearty potted plants around the front entrance.
- Shore up the landscaping. Sellers need to make sure their lawns are well-maintained even during the winter. Rake fallen leaves and put away hoses. If there is any old or unattractive patio furniture on the porch, remove it before buyers arrive.
- Use snow to set the scene. While not ideal in most cases, snowfall can be used to your advantage. Clean, fresh snow can create a fluffy white blanket that promotes a Norman Rockwell-like feel. Just be sure to clear the walkways and driveways. You should also consider forgoing your open house if the snow has turned dirty and brown in places.
- Pique interest with a twilight photo. You can mask dead greenery and enhance a home’s warmth by taking a specialty shot of your home glistening under an evening sky. For best results, arrive at the property and set up your equipment at least an hour before sunset. Take several shots to make sure you capture the ideal lighting, which is often a few minutes after the sun dips below the horizon. Be sure to turn all interior and exterior lights on to create a warm, inviting feel.
Tracking the Weather
When planning your open house, be sure to keep a close eye on the weather forecast. Bone-chilling temperatures and icy road conditions can seriously dampen turnout. They can also create a negative psychological effect on many buyers. Stay aware of predicted weather conditions and try to be flexible enough to reschedule if necessary.