Though those classic Currier & Ives prints show an idealized version of winter, the actual season (particularly in the Midwest) can be bleak and grey, making your for-sale home look a little drab, too. So how do you raise the curb appeal of your home in the winter months, adding some brightness and color, and attracting buyers?
Here’s a 10 tips to make those prospective homebuyers actually cross your threshold and look inside:
1. Clean the porch: Sweep and scrub the front porch (or consider concrete cleaner or new paint) and place some evergreens or potted poinsettias (replace when they begin to shed their leaves) on either side of the door or check out some artificial topiaries at Home Decorators Collection
2. Hide what you need to keep: Rakes, shovels, snow blowers, and toys—anything that usually “lives” outside now needs to find a (neat) home in your garage, or invest in a shed.
3. Light it up: Clean or replace any outdoor light fixtures and replace the bulbs. Make sure all lighting along the walkway is bright and in working order. Put the outdoor lights on a timer (so they go on even when no one is there) to give a clear view to prospective buyers driving by.
4. Wash the windows: Both inside and out (remember the storm and garage windows) to give a clean appearance (vacuum out cobwebs and any dead insects.) Wash or repaint the shutters
5. Paint the doors: Give a fresh coat of paint to all the doors of your home, even the garage door. Replace the doorknob and front door knocker with brighter brass. (Consider, too, making a good impression with new house numbers and a new mailbox.) Adorn the door with a seasonal—but not holiday—wreath of man-made materials. (You want it to last beyond the holidays). Consider a winterberry wreath to add a splash of color. Many retailers carry them or find directions here to make your own. http://www.thoughtfullysimple.com/simple-holiday-decor-winter-berry-wreath/
6. Check for safety: Replace any cracked places or hazardous pavers on your front sidewalk and driveway. Have someone on-call to shovel both immediately if a snowstorm hits. Keep those surfaces ice-free with pet safe salt (Safe Paw is a good one.) If someone can’t get to your home safely, they can’t buy it.
7. Start from the top: Make sure your roof looks good (no loose or missing shingles) and that gutters are leaf-free and intact.
8. A Peak Inside: Entice potential buyers by having your front window lit up and the drapes open so they can get a little taste of your home inside. So make sure that you have some great décor set up staging the part they can see.
9. Install winter landscaping: Spruce, holly and evergreen bushes can add beauty to your winter landscaping. Make sure all dead branches are well-trimmed, your garden beds edged and you might want to hang color bird feeders from trees in your front yard. (Duncraft is a great source of many types of feeders.
10. Look with new eyes: Have a friend drive by and tell you their first impressions of your home. Their comments, combined with those from your knowledgeable Realtor, will have your home sold quickly even when the winter winds are blowing.