Staging and Selling in the Winter
by Jennie Norris, Owner of Sensational Home Staging
Staging a house can become challenging in the winter when the landscape around the country does not look that great - dead grass, spindly trees with no leaves, two-tone colors with snow and dirt. In fact I believe winter time is the toughest time of the year to sell when dealing with curb appeal. Depending on what part of the country you live in, you may have lots of green and warmth this time of year, or deal with the barren landscape. When there is snow on the ground, it does look pretty, but as the snow melts, you are often left with bald patches of dirt, icy or muddy streets, and little color in the yards with deciduous trees that have no leaves.
So how do you add that curb appeal necessary for Selling when Mother Nature seems to have another plan?
Here is an excerpt from an article entitled "Home Staging Tips for Every Season" where expert and my personal mentor, Barb Schwarz, was interviewed by AOL online (http://realestate.aol.com/blog/2010/07/20/home-staging-for-every-season/
Home Staging Tips for Winter:
• Keep your place warm. You want the house looked at! If you aren't living there or even if you are, spend the money to keep it warm. They will walk out if it's too cold," says Schwarz. "And that means no sale." Trying to save money by keeping your house cold and not heating it properly is a turn-off to buyers.
• Keep lighting in mind during the winter months. Winter means it gets dark earlier, so put lighting on timers inside and outside the house. Every room in the house can be on timers, as it welcomes buyers into a room and you want them to keep walking and checking out the house.
• Just because it's winter doesn't mean you shouldn't have flower boxes and greenery at your front door, in pots. On the contrary, it's really warm and welcoming. Just make sure they are seasonally appropriate.
• Keep snow off the back patio and front porch. You want people to go out and see the back and front of the house and the patio and yard, too. Go back to your back fence and see what does the back of your house looks like, does it look boring? You can keep flower pots by the slider doors, as it softens the look of the house in the gray winter.
• Don't forget to put out the summer photos of your great outdoor deck, so people know what it will be like in warmer months.
Here are some added tips:
• Invest in some annuals or perennials that like the cold weather and put them in pots or line the walkway with them. Some of the best annuals for color that like the cold are pansies, primroses, kale (cabbage), and emerald greens (arborvitaes). Think not just about adding green bushes, but add color with annuals that will survive in your climate. If you are not sure, consult with your local landscape supplier and ask what you should put in those pots in the front and back yards.
• Remove hazardous ice from walkways, streets, etc. - this could pose a slipping hazard for a potential buyer and you want to avoid potential issues arising from a buyer that falls on your property. Plus, it makes it look like you care about your house when you have taken the time to remove the ice and piles of snow so that the house is easily accessible.
• Add outdoor cushions to your chairs that may be outside for color and appeal. You can have a fireplace set up on your patio or deck where when the nights are not too cold, you could convey enjoying a nice cozy fire outside.
• When the outside is lacking in color, make sure you have plenty of color elements INSIDE your house to balance out the bleak. Use accessories and layers of color to help create that buyer appeal and transition from the outside to inside. If a house is bleak on the outside, and then on the inside has white walls, tan furniture and beige carpet, it is blah and boring. Using artwork, fabrics, throws, pillows and accent decor can help create an inviting look for buyers.
• Finally, if you are thinking of putting your house on the market in the winter, make sure to share photos of your house and yard that you have taken during the spring, summer and fall so buyers can see what the yard looks like when it is in bloom.
For information on getting your house show ready, contact Jennie at 303-717-7918 or 888-93-STAGE. With over 3,000 houses Staged successfully, Jennie has the expertise and ideas to help you achieve your goals of a successful sale. http://www.sensationalhome.com/