Though the weather outside is frightful, selling your home in the winter actually isn’t so bad! The real estate market in winter months — particularly in December and January — is typically a scaled-down version of the rest of the year. Buyers and sellers with time to spare tend to put their real estate plans on hold for the holidays. With fewer properties on the market and fewer buyers house-hunting during these times, your listing is more likely to stand out and become a prime target for the buyers who are actively looking.
So, while there is plenty of opportunity to buy or sell in the spring, summer and fall, you’re not out of luck in the winter! The real question is: how do you keep your home looking great during gloomy, rainy, or even snowy weather?
The trick is to increase your curb appeal, and it’s easier than you think! Keep on reading for our must-know tips to improve your winter curb appeal.
The easiest and most cost-efficient way to improve your winter curb appeal is to tidy up and declutter your yard. Even the neatest of homes on the inside can quickly accumulate leaves, debris, junk and other items outside that might turn off potential buyers. As a home seller, you want buyers to have a great impression of your home as soon as they arrive, so curb appeal is critical!
Any items that are looking weathered, such as children’s play items, outdoor seating, or exterior features like an old, busted fountain should be thrown out or put in storage. If the items can’t be removed, or if you don’t have the necessary storage space, then you should still spruce them up as best you can.
Any wooden areas, such as decking, may require new treatments. Replace broken panels, sand the area, and treat it with wood stain. For best results, take a look at your exterior before winter weather kicks in. Repairs are easier when it’s nicer outside, and you definitely don’t want to trap moisture in your wood.
Finally, clear your yard of natural debris and detritus. Rake those pesky autumn leaves into a large pile, cut off any dead branches hanging from trees on your property, and remove unsightly plants that have overstayed their welcome. Tidying up your yard goes a long way to boost that ever-important curb appeal.
Give Them a Warm Welcome
Now that your yard is neat and tidy, have a look at your front entryway. Does it beckon potential buyers to come inside and explore your home?
One way to make your home more inviting is to spruce up your front door. If your current door is looking weathered or displays a drab color of paint, consider restoring it with a vibrant color like a rich red or green. It will look fresh and welcoming, and add to the appeal of your home’s facade.
You can also enhance your entryway by adding some new fittings. Install a charming door knocker, or if “‘tis the season,” decorate the door with some holiday cheer. This will inspire buyers with the look of a warm, family home. Keep in mind that you want your home to appeal to any and every potential buyer, so overly religious or otherwise personal motifs should be avoided. But a nice, wintery wreath will be loved by all but the Grinch-iest visitors!
Switch Out the Mailbox and Signage
When it comes to curb appeal, the devil is in the details. Unlike inside of your home, where staging and fresh paint can express elegant style throughout your floor plan and walls, exterior fixtures and fittings are not so abundant. The easiest and cheapest exterior fixtures to improve are your mailbox and signage.
When you replace your mailbox, select one that complements the architectural style of your home. If you have a grand colonial setting, then go for something that fits with it. If you have a sleek, modern home built from glass and concrete, pick something that supplements that style. These little details add to an overall tapestry that buyers experience when they visit your property.
Additionally, if you repainted your front door like we suggested above, try and match the mailbox to the color of your front door. Pick bright and cheerful shades to add color that might otherwise be lacking due to the season.
Signage on your home’s exterior is another opportunity to add some flavor. You can update your street numbers, whether they’re on your mailbox or on your home’s facade. An embossed plate can also add a cute message, like “Welcome Home.” Whatever you choose, pick something unique that complements the theme of your home. These will be the first features that buyers see from the street, and first impressions count!
Add Some Evening Lighting
Lighting a home’s exterior is easy, but really doing it well requires some talent and tact. Too much evening lighting can make your house look brash and cause the facade to have a spaceship-like glow. (And it probably won’t make the neighbors very happy!) On the other hand, tasteful evening lights can accentuate your home’s best features and make it look beautiful for more hours of the day.
Exterior lighting can be placed on your exterior walls, amidst your landscaping, or on features like your mailbox. Lanterns and sconces add a warm touch, and they’re extra helpful if you have a long, dark driveway. If you go that route, metal lanterns will be more durable than other materials which may weather easily. With the right paint, you can even tailor your new lights to match your siding, front door, and mailbox.
Go Evergreen With Your Curb Appeal
Not all plants wither and die in winter weather. In fact, there are a number of evergreen plants and foliage options that stay green all year round. Some plants even thrive in winter conditions.
Placing these hearty plants in your garden will give it a lush, well-kept appearance. Find some plants that flower in winter and place them in pots, so you can leave them outside to greet buyers with a touch of color. If you have extra space in your yard, you can even plant some winter-friendly trees.
Make Paths and Driveways Clear
In addition to clearing the yard, make sure that your driveway and walking paths look clean and pristine. These are the sections that will draw the eye up to the property — particularly if they are cracked or marred. If your hardscape is cluttered, messy, or damaged, it will leave a bad impression before buyers even step foot into your home.
To get your hardscape in shape, clear any dirt and foliage that has found its way onto your driveway and paths. If you need to trim back live foliage, have at it! The walkway must be clear for all to see, and it makes your home more accessible too. Buyers don’t want to feel like they’re trekking through the outback as they make their way to your front door.
After a good cleaning, repair any damage to paths and drives. This may involve calling in a professional for repair or replacement. It can be hard and heavy work. Additionally, if any weeds or plants are making walkways unsightly, trim them back or take them out entirely.
Get Help from the Real Estate Experts
Once you have increased your curb appeal with these handy tips, you just need to get the buyers visiting your home! The best way to do this is with the help of an expert real estate agent who understands your neighborhood and local real estate market.
If you are buying or selling real estate in the San Diego area, then Caspersen Brothers & Associates are your trusted advisers. We specialize in residential and investment properties in the North County San Diego area, and we bring a wealth of experience to all of our work. Contact us today to start the no-pressure conversation, and let’s talk strategy!