#1 Keep the house warm.
While you don't have to keep the heat on all the time, keep the house warm during showings. You don't want people shivering while they look through the house. Set the thermostat to at least 70 degrees -- whether you'll be in the house or not.
#2 Trim the outdoor foliage.
Remove snow from shrubs and trees so that potential buyers don't get wet as they walk up the sidewalk to your home. Brush off snow, prune the tree limbs and trim the hedges as needed. You can even hire a tree service to do this for you if you're strapped for time. While your lawn is dormant this time of year, you can at the very least make it look well maintained to give buyers a sense of what it looks like during the spring and summer. You can also display photos in your entryway of how your home looks outside during the greener months.
#3 Handle winter conditions.
If you have ice and snow on your driveway and sidewalk, you need to take care of it way in advance of showings. Clear ice and snow with shovels and salt, so that your exterior looks nice and safe to buyers. It will also increase the aesthetic quality of your home to buyers and keep you from getting sued by a buyer who falls or slips. If you have particular trouble with ice and snow, you can call a snow removal service to do it for you.
#4 Show off the fireplace.
If you have a fireplace, you should showcase it as part of your home's aesthetic appeal. A gas fireplace is easy to turn on before a showing, and it adds natural beauty to your home -- not to mention warmth. A wood-burning fireplace is a bit harder to maintain, because you can run out of firewood. So you need to time the lighting just right before the showing. You also need to make sure the chimney is in good condition, so have it cleaned and checked by a fireplace professional ahead of a showing to avoid any problems.
#5 Add comfort to your home.
There are other steps you can take to make your home more comfortable and inviting during the winter months. Focus on small improvements to your home like:
- Adding blankets to your couch
- Turning back the comforter on the bed
- Baking a pie or cookies for the smell
- Lighting some candles
- Turning on some relaxing music
#6 Make sure your home is well lit.
Since winter takes away a lot of sunshine, you need to utilize light bulbs and other forms of lighting. Outside lights, security lights, candles, LED lighting -- every bit of lighting is crucial in the interior and exterior. You want all lights on when buyers are walking through your home -- don't focus on your electricity bill right now. You also want to make as much use of natural lighting as possible. Open your window treatments during the day showings.
Andrea Davis is the editor for HomeAdvisor, which helps homeowners find home improvement professionals in their area at no charge to ensure the best service in the shortest amount of time.
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