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How to Host The Perfect Winter Open House

December 05, 2018

You don’t always get to choose what season you move in. Sometimes job opportunities, family obligations or once-in-a-lifetime experiences come up and you have to put your house on the market. While winter might not seem like the ideal time to showcase a house, there are things you can do to improve your chances of selling fast (and maybe even over asking).

Oh, the weather outside is frightful …

If there is snow leading up to the open house, you have to make sure you clear the driveway and walkways up to the front door. De-ice anywhere that’s a slip and fall hazard, and remove snow and icicles off the roof overhang.

There should be nothing to cause concern for any buyers viewing the house. You don’t want anyone to have a negative experience or, worse, get hurt at your open house.

You also want to create a welcoming entrance. In addition to clearing the ice and snow off the porch, you want to literally roll out the welcome mat! Inside, the front foyer should have another mat for wet boots, and an umbrella stand and coat rack.

But the fire is so delightful …

Now that potential buyers have a safe passage into your home, you want to wow them with the coziness of the house. Set the thermostat to ensure the house feels comfortable — this means “just right.” You don’t want it to be cold, but don’t make it stifling hot, either. If you have a gas or electric fireplace, make sure it’s lit to create warmth and create ambiance. You want buyers to imagine themselves living there, enjoying a fire on a cold winter’s day.

To ramp up the cozy factor, serve seasonal refreshments. Hot chocolate and warm cookies will do the trick. This will not only warm them up but also make the house feel like a home.

While the firelight is lovely, winter evenings (and days) can be quite dark and gloomy. Add strategic lighting to the inside (and outside) of the house to brighten it up — even on those grey, overcast days. Make sure to light up the front porch and garage (if you have one) and all the rooms in the house.

Use light to highlight all the home’s best features so that no detail will go unnoticed.

Check the forecast and make a call

There are some winter days that are just too miserable to fix. When there are blizzard-like conditions coming, keep an eye on the weather reports and cancel or postpone if necessary. It’s not worth it to have an open house that (a) no one goes to; and (b) puts people (including yourself, as you have to leave) in harm’s way.

When selling in the winter, you have to be agile and be willing to change plans and reschedule open houses quickly, as the weather can change daily.

Good luck selling your home! If you put in the effort, you can make it worth your while to sell come winter.

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