Caitlin Marino

Is Listing a Home in the Winter Different from the Rest of the Year?

You are battling the elements, have far less daylight, and potentially freezing temperatures. Things ARE different, so what do you do?

Prepare your listings for muddy boots and wet jackets. You don't want mud, salt, and other debris making your pristine listing look like the great outdoors. If your listing lacks appropriate supplies for the winter months, purchase a cheap indoor/outdoor carpet, coat tree, plastic booties, and somewhere people can sit down to take off their outdoor gear and put their booties on. Do not leave it up to chance; create a welcome sign (branded to you!) informing visitors what to do with their belongings and where it should go. All of this will not only keep your listing looking great, but it will also be impressive to your seller(s) and anyone else who tours the home because you thought of EVERYTHING!

A listing's lighting situation is critical during the Winter months. With shortened daylight and most people viewing homes after work hours, your listings will have fewer chances to capture the ambiance that natural lighting brings. How do you combat mother nature? Switch out light bulbs in your listing to LED daylight bulbs. Purchase a few inexpensive lamps to scatter throughout the home and place them on a timer. Make sure the seller leaves all (or most) lighting on for people touring the home or request buyer agents show up a few moments early to turn the listing's lights on before their clients begin their tour. How can someone's first impression be positive if they can't see anything?
Selling in an area where snow is a factor? Decide on a game plan with your seller BEFORE you tackle the season's first snowfall. Who is responsible for shoveling and salting steps/driveways when potential buyers tour the listing? Does someone need to be hired for snow maintenance? Figure it out before you need it!

If your listing is vacant and in an area where the temperature drops below freezing, contact a licensed plumber and schedule a winterization of the home. The last thing you or your seller needs is frozen or burst pipes! Suppose a vacant property is in an area with freezing temperatures, and your seller declines to winterize the listing. In that case, it is a good idea to get the seller's decision to reject winterization in writing, removing any responsibility from you, the agent.

Winter months are often the hardest on a home. This is a great time to encourage your seller to enroll the property in a comprehensive home warranty that covers the house when it is listed for sale. Contact your home warranty representative to discuss your options.

Lastly, encourage your seller to decorate for the season instead of for a specific holiday. Selling a home takes up enough time as-is; add in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and those holiday-specific décor items are never coming down! Sellers will forget or won't have the time to remove the previous decorations and redecorate with something new. Make life easier and decorate for Winter as a whole.