Selling a home in December, January or February in frigid climates can be a tough task with a slowdown in market activity and chilly weather.
Typically, buyers searching in the winter months are more serious. And sellers who are motivated to close quickly can make it happen with your help this winter.
Here are five tips from RE/MAX Associates in Northern Illinois that you can share with your clients:
1. Let those lights shine. "Turn on all interior lights for a showing – even in closets and utility/mechanical rooms – and make sure all the bulbs are working. Stock up on all the right bulbs for your lamps and fixtures so you can replace burned out bulbs immediately. Also, it's a great idea to keep front exterior lights on even if no showings are scheduled. Open drapes and blinds to let in light and show visitors the view."
– Marlene Granacki, RE/MAX Exclusive Properties, Chicago
2. Make entry easy. "Winter showings can get off to an awkward start if prospective buyers arrive with snow or salt on their shoes. Make it easy for buyers to deal with their shoes when they arrive by putting out a nice, festive area rug at the front door so visitors can wipe their feet, and have slippers or disposable booties available. Also, put out a bench, if there's room for one, where visitors can sit and remove their shoes." – Barbara Hibnick, RE/MAX Showcase, Long Grove
3. Keep odors under control. "Homes can be stuffy in winter when windows are rarely opened, and that can allow odors to build up, which is a huge turn-off to buyers. Pet odors can be especially worrisome in winter. Use a room fragrance if needed, but nothing too strong, and clean more often (especially cat litter, which should be changed daily). Consider using an air purifier and adjusting your thermostat so that your furnace fan runs throughout the day to move air through the house and dissipate odors." – Mike Mondello, RE/MAX Team 2000, Orland Park
4. Make it festive. "Appropriate holiday decorations can give your home a cheerful look during the winter months – and even help homes sell, however, don't go to extremes. Small, decorative white lights on trees and bushes are OK through the winter season, but other decorations should be taken down quickly once the holiday passes."
– Starr Zook, RE/MAX on Track, Aledo
5. Keep it comfy. Adjust your thermostat so the temperature is warm, but comfortable; you don't want it too hot or cold. "When it comes to keeping heating bills under control, don't use plastic sheeting to insulate your windows. You may save a few hundred dollars on heating costs if you cover the windows with plastic, but it could cost you thousands on the sales price because buyers might believe they will have to replace the windows," Hibnick says.
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