Tips for selling your home in winter
'You really do want to highlight your house and not everything that's around it'
While many believe winter to be a more difficult time to sell your home, some experts believe it all comes down to curb appeal.
Greg Lipton, president of the P.E.I. Real Estate Association, has been helping Islanders find homes for years. He's also an agent with Blue Ocean Real Estate.
It's that warm feeling that you want.— Greg Lipton, P.E.I. Real Estate Association
He said for people looking to sell during the winter, the key is to keep your home neat and tidy at all times.
"It's a matter of making sure your house looks inviting," he said.
Susan Snow, owner of Charlottetown-based Moving Designz, has decorated many P.E.I. homes and cottages.
"You really do want to highlight your house and not everything that's around it," she said.
"A house that has too much going on, too much busyness with decorations, certainly takes away from looking at the house. Clean, non-cluttered is the way to go."
Here are some of Snow and Lipton's top tips for those who are looking to sell their home this winter.
Lipton said one easy way to make your home appear more inviting is to make sure your driveway and walkways are cleared of snow.
"If it snows, get it done right away. It's a big, big issue," he said.
Prospective buyers don't want to have to climb over snowbanks to get a peek at your home, he said.
"You need to find a way to tackle that so you can see your house," Snow said.
"Whether it's from the driveway or the street view, just make sure your snow is pushed back and your driveway is very clear and wide. It creates a nice impression."
Out of sight
While it may be convenient for people to have their garbage bins out in the driveway during winter, Lipton said that isn't a good idea for selling.
"It doesn't make their house look good," he said. "Let's have the garbage cans out of the way."
Snow also suggests that any winter toys or snow equipment like snowblowers should be stored in your garage or at the side of your home.
"Also in the winter if you have icicles hanging off your eaves it's a good idea to knock them off," Snow said. "It really might suggest a heat problem along those lines."
A little light can go a long way
The cooler months are not typically as bright as spring and summer, but there are easy ways to make your house seem brighter and more inviting.
"It doesn't hurt to have some Christmas lights, like just white lights around the entry way. Maybe if you've had floodlights around your house before, you could put the white floodlights up just to highlight the house in early evening," Lipton said.
"It's that warm feeling that you want."
When you need a little privacy or reprieve from the sun entering your windows during the daytime hours, Snow said, it's important to make sure your blinds aren't crooked and appear cohesive.
In the summertime, of course, there's all kinds of competition.— Greg Lipton, P.E.I. Real Estate Assocation
But if possible, it's always a good idea to keep them clear and open.
"Look at it from the outside and just make sure your blinds and shades are up and open," Snow said.
If you plant it, they will come
Lipton said adding plants outdoors can make the home more appealing.
"Once again, it's just showing pride in ownership," he said.
"It doesn't have to be an evergreen, it could be a pussy willow, brown stalks. Something that you could even run a little light through. It's just a little extra pizzazz," he said.
Snow also suggested that if you're looking for something a little bit more interesting for the eye, incorporating some twigs and branches is always a nice touch — as long as they are arranged in a neat and tidy way.
Winter listing could be advantage
At the end of the day, Lipton said while winter can seem like a challenging time to list your home, you could actually end up being at an advantage.
"In the summertime, of course, there's all kinds of competition. In the wintertime, it's actually a good time to list because if you're listing in the wintertime anybody that needs to buy a house — there's only so much product out there," he said.
"It narrows their chances and they're going to take a look at your house for sure."