Selling a home in winter time in Calgary, or any cold climate offers some unique challenges for homeowners and Real Estate Professionals alike. Here are a few tips to make the best of the chilly weather and cooler market:
1. Don’t be hesitant to market your property in mid-winter. Although the sales activity slows during the winter months, the ratio of sales to available inventory improves, and so do your chances of selling. We have seen that even though there are less Buyers shopping, those Buyers that brave the cold and inclement weather to view properties are very serious about buying.
2. Be Festive. Your home looks amazing, feels warm and comfy and that pine tree smells wonderful during the festive season. Showing your home at Christmas time is a rare opportunity to display your home in a theme that incites a good feeling in just about everyone, so why not take advantage of the timing.
3. Clear the way for showings by ensuring that all walks are shoveled clean, not just the main walk to the front steps. You may have an important feature in the yard or garage that is important to display so get the edge on other Sellers by keeping all those walkways clean. Also, make sure that visitors have an area to remove rubbers and shoes that will contain the snow and mud that’s bound to be tracked in with them at each showing.
4. Light it up. Remember that daylight hours are much shorter at this time of year so the chances are that your home will be shown after daylight hours. Ensure that all lights are on for all showings including the front porch light to illuminate the address. We even go to the extent of using lighted (solar) for sale signs on property that we market during this time of year to get better exposure. Remember to do an inventory of all lights and update any dim bulbs with a brighter wattage. We are always conscious of helping you save energy, but this is the time to temporarily ramp it up.
5. Make it easy to show your home. Be prepared for evening showings and for short notice showings – these are often your best opportunity. Practice the fire drill with the family so that when you get a short notice showing everyone has their role to play – children clean up their rooms, Mom tidies the kitchen and Dad cleans the walks. Ensure that your REALTOR® places the keybox in a convenient location that won’t cause an expedition to locate it.
6. Keep it warm. We recommend using your set-back thermostat except while your home is being marketed for sale. The reason is that a showing may occur during a period of uncomfortably low temperature in your home and this will turn off many Buyers. Always ensure that set-back thermostats hold a comfortable temperature during any time that it could be shown. This applies to vacant properties even more so.
7. Contain odors caused by pets or hockey gear, etc by storing them in an appropriate area, using an odor remover/air freshener and proper ventilation. It’s a good idea to turn on the furnace fan if you have a a dual stage furnace just to keep the air moving. Remember that you become accustomed to odors in your home that others may find offensive. Don’t let this cost you valuable time and money by delaying the sale of your home. Ask an objective friend or your Agent for their honest opinion. Even though, some Agents could be afraid to offend and may not offer this important advice.
By now I hope that you can see there is no reason to shy away from selling a home in the winter months; in fact I hope that I have convinced you of the fact that winter may actually be the best time to sell your home before the crowd of spring inventory arrives.