You may think that springtime is the preferred season for home sales, but experienced real estate pros know that houses can sell briskly every month of the year.
If you must sell your home during the dead of winter, you should use the following staging tricks to help get the job done.
Outside Without Snow
OK, it’s January in central Texas and it hardly ever snows, unlike Bloomington, Indiana apartment dwellers who are getting slammed with fresh New Year powder. Transplanted northern residents sometimes call central Texas winters “eternal fall,” because the leaves slowly drop from the trees from October until January or later, and while the grass may not be lush, absent a few days of hard frosts, it won’t be brown either.
Still, the landscape looks like a hasty shade of winter with brown the predominant color, and dark and dead leaves everywhere.
To give your home some curb appeal to attract buyers, you still need to pay attention to your landscaping. The first thing to do is clean it up. While a mulching mower will grind up the fallen leaves and deposit them across your lawn, it’s a good idea to get a leaf vacuum, so that you can keep debris from building up in corners, in beds and behind rocks.
Once you have swept everything clean, mow the lawn even if it really doesn’t need it. This will at least give it a uniform height and decent looking surface. Next, be sure to edge your turf. Nothing looks better—in winter or summer—than that beautiful clean line between your grass and the concrete. If you’re good enough to edge with a string trimmer, go for it; otherwise invest in a true electric edger.
Pay special attention to your barren beds, replenish mulch, add gravel and remove unwanted weeds and St. Augustine runners. Then go to the garden center and buy some winter flowers like mums or cyclamen, and plant them appropriately.
With everything clean and neat, and with the splash of fresh flowers, your winter landscape will look very inviting.
If you live in St. Paul, and purchased your home on a contract for deed you’re obviously not going to be able to do any of the above, especially after you have a good winter snow cover. You can still make your outdoor area look nice, however.
First, be religious about removing snow as quickly as possible. Think of snow removal like edging—that nice clean sidewalk with a defined curb line will look a lot better than the 10-inch path your neighbor has sculpted. If you have any areas that accumulate ice during the freeze and thaw cycles, work hard to clean them. A load of snow doesn’t look that bad if the sidewalks and driveway are clean.
Next, look at your garden beds. If you have overgrown arborvitaes, for example, your property can look old and dingy. Even in the winter, trim the bushes, and if you do have exposed beds, make sure they are not full of debris.
Finally, hide you AC compressor. If it’s old and rusty, potential buyers may think the rest of the home is also.
It’s a lot easier to give your home superior curb appeal in mild weather. That said, with some care and creativity, you can stage your home’s exterior landscaping to present your property in the best light—even if it is the dead of winter.