We live in Canada. We sell homes in Canada. And with Canada, we deal with 4 (sometimes very) distinct seasons. Many think that homes don’t sell in the winter or it’s not the best time to sell. It really comes down to simple high school economics (in which yours truly acquired a solid B- in grade 11 high school).
SUPPLY + DEMAND
Home sellers quite often equate quantity with success. How many showings? How many open house visitors? How many leads? 29 people through in June may equal 8 people through in January but we can assure you of one thing. The average buyer in January dealing with -25 degree wind chills and darkness at 4:15pm are much more serious and motivated than the average buyer in May.
If you have more of a captive audience and less competition, that can only benefit you as the seller of any product, whether it is a used bike or a home. (see above re: supply and demand).
With that said, here are some strategies and things to pay attention to when selling in the frozen months.
WARM – make sure your home has a warm and cozy feel. Warm, welcoming and feel good. It’s a place you may linger in a little longer. We have shown vacant homes where the furnace is set to 60 degrees. The result is cold floors and cold feet. Ever tried to buy something with cold feet?
THE OTHER KIND OF WARM – Not just temperature warmth but emotional warmth. Battery powered candles, fireplace on, thermostat set to keep the temperatures comfortable, lights on to lighten up the dark days of winter. The Danish have a term referred to as ‘hygge’ which is what you should be shooting for.
ACCESSIBLE – love it or not, you need to keep the path clear. Shovelling, salting and clearing are all part of your snow maintenance plan! And if you’re concerned about your beautiful patio, make sure you shovel out back too. It may feel strange but your beautiful interlock patio isn’t so beautiful if it’s under 8” of snow.
PHOTOS – if it is currently warm outside but you are planning on selling in the winter, now is the time to get professional photos taken. We often have sellers offer up their photos of the pool or backyard however they are often not the necessary resolution or they have people in them which is not permitted. We would still have proper, professional photos taken in season however the best way to get a buyer excited about your Royal Botanical Garden is to show them in living colour.
SCHEDULE – there is no doubt that the sun has a huge effect in the winter months. With darkness at 4:30 and people often working until 5pm, most people will be seeing your home in the dark. It may feel odd for you to have to pack up and head out for an 8:00pm showing in the winter but that is what you’ll likely have to do. In the summer it feels completely normal thanks to the warm summer sun but we’ve encountered sellers who have trouble with that. Just some food for thought.
LIGHT – staying on the dark by 5:00pm theme, make sure your lights are on including your main exterior light. One thing we often find is that people have basement lights that are often difficult to find the switch for. It’s easy for you to navigate your way in the dark but that elusive basement light switch may result in a bunch of people viewing your home using their cell phone flashlights. Not the best scenario!
STAND OUT AMONGST THE CROWD – Want to win friends and impress potential buyers? Leave out some warm apple cider and ‘to go’ cups. Yes there is the worry of someone spilling but you’ll find that everything should work out just fine. It’s the equivalent of leaving out cold lemonade on the patio table in the summer months. Always a hit!
CLEAN – this rule applies to all times of the year so it’s important enough to make any list. As in previous bLOGs, the clean rule can never be underestimated. Kitchen, bathrooms, beds made, vacuumed floors, wiped down baseboards and all other associated fun applies. Clean always wins over not-so-clean.
To discuss your home and how to warm it up in the cold months, feel free to contact us at any time.
We look forward to hearing from you.
…and photo credit goes to Patrick Chin. You can follow him on Instagram @iampatrickchin.