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Selling a home in the winter

December 7, 2011

Selling a home in winter can be challenging and some homeowners may find themselves in the position of having to sell during this time of the year. There are some ways to make the process easier, however. Ideally, the homeowners will know in advance they intend to sell and can start preparing the home before the cold sets in.

Fewer home sellers are active in winter, which generally means prospective buyers are looking at fewer choices. This might make it easier to stand out from the crowd and improve the competition for properties.

Winter home staging

According to USA Today, the season does provide a few unique opportunities to grab potential buyers' attention. A well-shoveled driveway and walkway make a good first impression. Although they are not important in and of themselves, they tend to create an inviting atmosphere and serve as evidence that the homeowners have paid attention to the details of their home, including regular maintenance and upkeep.

To continue fostering that attitude, the source suggests home staging be used to emphasize the property's comfort, size, warmth and brightness. Good lighting and clean windows make it easier to see and may help buyers envision themselves living in the home. Experts reportedly discourage showing a home after dark, and note it can be helpful to have photos of the home in the summer or spring on display.
 
Some experts advise keeping tasteful holiday decorations up, although too many could be overpowering. Instead, conservative lighting, wreaths and similar small touches can tap into the holiday feeling and focus buyers on the home's comfort and potential during the season.

Intangible factors

One expert told Bankrate.com it can pay to play soft music when visitors are expected to look at the house, saying soothing classical music tends to encourage longer visits and more thorough examinations. Pleasant smells, particularly from baking, may also contribute to the sense of the house as a home, not simply a structure.

The seasonal effects will depend on the home's location, and in sufficiently warm climates snow and ice may not be a problem. Alternatively, home sellers in areas that tend to have more extreme weather may find potential buyers are looking to enjoy skiing or other winter activities, or may be able to tout effective transportation and other advantages over similar homes.
 

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Since 1906, the Coldwell Banker® organization has been a premier provider of full-service residential and commercial real estate. Coldwell Banker is the oldest national real estate brand in the United States and today has a network of approximately 83,000 sales agents working in approximately 3,100 offices in 50 countries and territories. The Coldwell Banker brand is known for creating innovative consumer services as recently seen by being the first national real estate brand to create an iPad application and the first to fully harness the power of video in real estate listings, news and information through its Coldwell Banker On LocationSM YouTube channel. The Coldwell Banker system is a leader in specialty markets such as resort, new homes and luxury properties through its Coldwell Banker Previews International® marketing program. Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Each office is independently owned and operated.
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