The winter months are traditionally slow for home sales, as cold weather keeps buyers and sellers indoors. While this can be problematic if you need to move your house immediately, it can actually benefit sellers who are planning to vacate their current homes in the spring. By using the winter as a time to improve your home's interior appeal, it's possible to command a higher price when the buyers return alongside the spring's warm weather. Don't let the cold get you down, and prepare your home to be sold with the following cold-weather tips:
Take out some furniture
Removing furniture from your home is a great way to make each room look larger and makes a space feel cleaner and less cluttered. It can be difficult to go through your home and remove the tables and chairs, but doing so will improve each room's visual appeal for a potential buyer. Make decisions about which pieces to remove during the winter, when you're not under the time pressure that comes with hiring a realtor and consistently showing a house.
Hire an inspector
You will undergo a home inspection as part of the sale process, so avoid any problematic surprises by hiring an inspector ahead of time. Once you've had another pair of eyes look at your home, it will be easy to prioritize necessary improvement projects. It's possible that the inspector will find a sale-stopping problem, and early warning will prevent these issues from stalling out your home sale.
With the knowledge that you'll be selling your house soon, use the winter to give your house the extensive cleaning it will need. Hire a crew to deep-clean carpets, scrub the grout in your bathroom and make sure that your kitchen gleams like the day you moved in. Even if you're not particularly neat yourself, start getting in the habit of removing shoes when you come in the house. It will make life much easier when your home is being shown regularly.
Phase yourself out
Selling a house requires you to make a potential buyer think that the home is already their own. Nothing gets in the way of this feeling more than another person's clutter. Often, the things that buyers interpret as clutter represent a homeowner's prized heirlooms. Rather than purging your house of personal photos and accessories all at once, it can be less jarring to pack up your personal items slowly and move them into storage. A few months in winter represent a perfect opportunity to start this process.
Improve things, but not too much
If you know you're going to be moving out, don't invest too much time or money into home improvement projects. Those that you do complete should be the ones that get you the most bang for your buck. Good areas to focus on include the bathrooms and kitchen, two areas that homebuyers often cite as particularly important. A new faucet might be just the thing your home needs to convince a fickle buyer.
Particularly intense colors are a negative, as is a stark white living area. Aim for a middle ground, and don't hesitate to use the winter to give your home a slight visual makeover. Choose neutral options that will demonstrate some personality without overwhelming a buyer.
Repair the walls
Even if you won't be repainting, give your walls a close look. After years in a space, it's likely that you've hung pictures, bumped furniture against corners and generally beaten up the walls of your home. Now's the time to patch those holes and cover up any dings. While they're unnoticeable to you, any realtor or potential buyer will notice them immediately. This sort of small change can have a big impact on how your house is perceived.