January 2019

Make your winter open house a winner

Houses that stand out get sold every day, even in the slower winter months. There are lots of reasons why your clients may want or need to sell — and still plenty of people with reason to buy. But how can you show your listings at their best when you may also be dealing with colder, wetter or drearier weather?

Start the way you always do — by working with your client to help them understand how the right staging can impress potential buyers. Together, you can make a plan for how to make their house shine. You may also want to stop by the day before the open house to confirm everything is ready.

To help you plan, here are some tips on how to perk up your open houses in this challenging time of year.

Put out the welcome mat

Curb appeal is just as important in winter:

pillow
  • A good coating of snow can make any home sparkle, but be sure walkways, steps and porches are clear and ice-free.
  • If there's no snow, be sure the yard is trimmed and free of yard waste.
  • Add color without going overboard. Consider some potted plants by the door, a decorative flag, or even a colorful welcome mat.
  • You can also add landscape lighting to highlight the best features of the home.

Once inside, think bright but cozy

As always, start with a clean, uncluttered look:

house
  • If the day is sunny, take advantage of natural light by opening blinds or curtains.
  • When there's less natural light, arrange lamps and overhead lighting to show off the best aspects of the home. If necessary, bring in extra lamps to ensure that warm glow.
  • Brighten the space with cut flowers, colorful throw blankets or a strategically placed area rug.
  • If the weather is cold, don't skimp on the heat. And if the home has a fireplace, nothing says "home" like a crackling fire.

Set a mood with sounds and scents

Some simple additions can make prospective buyers feel at home:

warm apple cider
  • Encourage the seller to clean thoroughly to get rid of musty smells or pet odors.
  • Food smells like fresh-baked cookies or hot cider can be inviting — and be sure to give buyers a taste.
  • Avoid heavy artificial scents that can bother people with allergies.
  • Consider streaming some light, relaxing music, but keep the sound low enough so you can easily hear — and answer — the homebuyer's questions.

Offer bonus help for homebuyers

Talk to your local Bank of America lending specialist about helping at your next open house. By providing information about mortgage options, a lending specialist can help you turn home shoppers into homebuyers.

More from this month's issue