By Charlene Storozuk
Once the holiday season is over, we all tend to hunker down for the cold months ahead (at least those of us not lucky enough to live in a warm locale). The long winter months can play havoc with your social life, mood, travel plans, and, dare I say it, your real estate listings.
How do you bolster potential buyers on the merits of your listing’s exterior when there’s 4 feet of snow outside? Well, here are a few things that just might help.
- Make sure all seasonal decorations have been put away. It’s time to remove the outdoor Christmas lights and Santa displays.
- Place a few frost resistant planters or urns outside. Dress them up with twigs, winter greenery, and sparkly “baubles.”
- Statues look great in an outdoor winter garden. Make sure that the pieces you display are frost resistant so they won’t crack. Strategically place them around your garden to help draw potential buyers’ eyes around your outdoor space.
- A few outdoor flood lights (clear, not colored) shining on statues, urns, and other interesting architectural features will give a hint of drama for nighttime showings.
- Invest in a digital photo frame and load photos taken of your property during the summer months. Include a few close-ups of some of your favorite perennials. Buyers like to know what’s planted in the garden.
Make sure you also add photos of family and friends at outdoor summer gatherings. Place the digital frame in a central location such as your kitchen, and play the photos on a continuous loop for everyone to enjoy. Your audience will get a glimpse at your property’s summer appeal.
- Buyers will want to see the patio and/or deck. Make sure that all snow has been cleared away to show it off.
- If you have a heated garage, make sure that the heat is turned on prior to showings so that buyers can appreciate this feature.
- Leave your barbecue out for the winter and uncover it for showings if your outdoor entertaining space is located in close proximity to the kitchen. Many people like to barbecue in the winter and if your property is conducive to this set up, it’s a great selling feature — must be a “guy thing,” I guess. If you’re having an open house, open up the barbecue lid (make sure it’s clean inside), set out a plate and place some barbecue utensils next to the side grill. No harm in helping buyers envision the possibilities.
- If you have an outdoor fireplace or fire pit with a direct gas line, consider lighting it for nighttime showings. Check with the manufacturer first though, to make sure that your particular unit is suitable for winter use from a safety point of view. In fact, back to point No. 2 for a moment — the digital photos. Invite a crew of your friends over for a winter evening marshmallow roast around the fire. Supply a few blankets and some warm drinks and get snap happy with your camera. A few of these shots would be great on your digital photo frame as well.
When selling a property, you are also selling a lifestyle to a certain extent. What better way to display a lifestyle than with photos. Besides, you’ll actually have some fun staging your photo shoot.
These are just a few ideas to help your listings through the winter months. I’d love to hear your ideas!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charlene Storozuk is the owner of Dezigner Digz, a professional home staging and interior decorating company based in Burlington, Ontario. Her work is featured in the book FabJob Guide To Become A Home Stager, 2009 edition. She serves as regional vice-president, Canada for the Real Estate Staging Association and is a past recipient of the North American Leadership Award for her work as founder and president of the Halton & Hamilton-Wentworth RESA Chapter.