Monday, February 5, 2007

Extra Tips for Selling in Winter

A couple of weeks ago, I had to show a home on acreage early in the morning. It was January and we finally had a few inches of snow. Actually, more like half a foot of the fluffy white stuff had fallen overnight in the area where this home was located. From the agent's notes on the MLS, I knew the property was vacant, but had hoped the owner had the good sense to plow the driveway and shovel the walk. No such luck.

My buyers and I did get into the home. It had been recently "staged" and was spic and span. "Was" it is key word. We removed our shoes in the entry, but there was no rug or mat for our shoes. So the snow melted all over. I did look for paper towels, but since the home was vacant, the only towels available where the decorative towels hung by the stager to dress up the bathrooms. We knew that we could not use those. Unfortunately, we had to leave the entryway with water all over. I did contact the seller's agent and advise him of the situation as soon as we left. But this situation could have been prevented.

Here are a few extra tips for getting you home sold in the winter:

Shovel and salt. The outside of your home will always give the first impression. If it doesn't appear cared for with a shoveled walk and driveway, it sets the wrong impression. Make certain to shovel paths to any outbuildings or sheds that the buyer will want to view. Don't forget to salt or sand the icy spots. A rug or mat in the entry for shoes is essential during the winter months.

Light Up the Entry. Most showings during the week will in the evening. It gets dark at 5 pm in during the Minnesota winter months. There is nothing worse than have to dig out the flashlight in order to find the lockbox and key. If your home is vacant, install exterior lights with motion sensors or put on a timer so that evening showings aren't hazardous to your potential buyers.

Dust. With most forced air furnaces running around the clock, there is additional dust floating around. Make certain to change that furnace filter every 30 days.

Scent with Sense. Don't overpower the showings with strong scents. Try warming Cinnamon sticks in water on the stove just prior to the showing. Or bake cookies. Avoid too many air fresheners. Many people have allergies to these products. If it is too overpowering, they won't stay long enough to see the home.