We won't lie: Selling your home in the winter is a whole different experience than during the easy, breezy summer months. Rain, snow, or other crappy weather has a way of obscuring your home's best attributes (such as a lush lawn or amazing in-ground pool) while also highlighting its flaws (roof leaks, anyone?). Still, that doesn't mean you should just throw in the towel until spring. Here are some Realtor-approved tactics to pique the interest of plenty of home buyers during the winter months. Try a few to jolt your home selling out of its deep freeze.
Adjust how you spread the word
A winter home can sell, but it requires a different promotion strategy -- both online and in person. Sven Andersen of The Andersen Team suggests increasing the frequency of your Facebook advertisements, targeting different groups and income ranges. He also recommends jazzing up "For Sale" signs with balloons to make them more visible (and festive) to passers-by. Make sure your Realtor has a strong, winterized marketing plan in place.
Prepare for unfortunate revelations
During winter, it's crucial to consider what could go wrong with your home due to the elements -- perhaps puddles in your lawn or a leaky roof. While the obvious solution is just to fix these problems ahead of time, if you can't, it doesn't mean all is lost. For instance, if grading and drainage issues are plaguing your yard, get a few quotes about how much it would cost to fix them. You can then decide with your Realtor how much of that cost you would be willing to pay during the closing process. That way, if a potential buyer points out the problems, you have a ready response to keep the momentum rolling rather than letting it grind to a halt.
Provide photos of your home during sunnier times
It's hard for buyers to imagine how beautiful your home and yard look in summer when it's currently covered in winter snow. So why not show them photos? Images of your home during the warmer seasons should be front and center -- not only in your listing but also printed on fliers at your open house along with your floor plan and other materials. Ideally, Andersen says, if you have the luxury of foresight, "Have your home professionally photographed by a real estate photographer while the grass is green." Or if it's too late for professional photos, personal pictures will do the trick.
Warm up your open house
During the winter, homes that exude a cozy, comfy ambiance are especially attractive. And there are plenty of ways to create that vibe for potential buyers, starting from the moment they walk through the front door.
"Things can be muddy and mucky outside when it rains," says Realtor Tara Moore of Orlando, FL.
That means you'll probably want visitors to take off their shoes or boots before walking through your home. One way to do this with flair is to set out a basket of booties or slippers alongside a note asking visitors to swap out their muddy footwear. You will keep your home cleaner while making your guests feel cared for.
Got a fireplace? Throw a log on it, even if it's not ablaze. If baking cookies feels too clich, consider a more seasonably appropriate swap such as apple cider doughnuts. (Delicious!)
Clear a path to your front door
While there are plenty of ways to make your landscaping pop in winter, if you have the time, there's one rule you can't ignore no matter how busy you are: You have to shovel the walkways and driveway. Yes, it sucks, but someone's gotta do it. You could even pay your neighbor's kid to do this.
"Some people are, like, 'Oh, it will be fine,'" says Andersen. It's not. "Make sure they're clean and safe for people that are coming."
Because, nothing makes selling a home in the winter more of a headache than a lawsuit. And even if you escape that particular pain, cleaning up your front walk only serves to make your home look polished and presentable -- and far more worthy of purchase.