Putting your house on the market in the fall and winter comes with some unique challenges.

The daylight hours are limited, and people may need to view your house when it is dark out.  It is also the wet coast, so showings may be very cold and rainy.  Yards do not look as pretty because they are missing their beautiful spring and summer flowers and lush gardens.  With these factors in mind, here are some helpful hints to put your homes best foot forward for selling in these darker seasons.

When you are getting your house ready to sell, you must put on a buyer’s mindset. Pretend you are a buyer and drive up to your house. What is the first impression? What do you think someone would like and dislike? When you pull in the driveway, what attracts your attention? If your garage door is old and dated, consider replacing it. This is one of the top renovations someone can do when selling a home that will pay for itself. 

Does your house need a power wash? Do the windows and gutters need cleaning? Check the perimeter drains for leaves and other blockages and ensure drain spouts from the gutters are pushing water away from your house. Make your walkway to the front door as open and pleasant as possible. Often when a house is being viewed by a buyer there are at least 3 people in attendance, the realtor and two buyers. Is there room for everyone to stand while the door is being unlocked?  

What does your front door look like? How is the lighting all around your house? When it is dark out, lighting inside and out is extremely important.  You want your house to look warm and inviting.

Now, enter your home. Is there space for people to stand while taking off their shoes and jackets? In the split level “BC Box” this can be a challenge. Make sure that you have all your items removed to make as much space as possible for when the buyers enter the house. When you look around upon entering your home, what do you notice first? There can be no clutter when selling a house!

Declutter, declutter, declutter. If your house looks like Enola Sherlock’s family house, you have too much stuff! You may have lived in the house for many years acquiring things. Get a storage locker and move almost everything into the locker. You can have a garage sale in the spring when the weather is better. 

Clean, clean, clean. Hire cleaners for a day or two and have the carpets professionally cleaned. Let the cleaners know you are putting your house on the market and need it cleaned so you can sell the house. They will go to work washing baseboards and getting into the nitty-gritty of your home. Clean your light fixtures and fans, the fridge and stove. Make sure every light bulb works and throws off great light. When your house is being shown, you will leave the lights on to make the house look bright and airy.

If your house is older, look for ways you can make it feel a little less dated? Paint the bathroom walls light grey versus pink or green, spray paint with heat resistant black paint your gold fireplace frame, change the light switches to a more modern style, finish all trim and baseboards, patch and paint any damaged areas. 

A quick way to make a house look great is to purchase new throw pillows, bedding, towels and linens. The nice thing about this is that you can take all the new items with you to your new home. If your shower curtain is old, replace it. Fix all closet doors so they can open as smoothly as possible. As well, don’t forget the garage. Ensure the garage is tidy.

Check your crawl space and attic for dampness, rodent activity and uncovered electrical junction boxes. Having a home inspection prior to putting your house on the market is prudent as it allows you to correct any issues before buyers come through your home. A home inspectors job is to look for problems with the house, and THEY WILL FIND SOME. You may not be able to fix everything, but even fixing a bunch of small, unknown issues can decrease the negative impact of a home inspection.

On the day of showing make sure that you take out the garbage and compost and the house smells great. Winter dampness with wet dog, wet clothes and less air circulation can put a buyer off. Do your best to eliminate all smells. Do not cover the smells up with fragrances and scents. As neutral smelling as possible is your goal. 

There is a theory that selling your house in the winter can work to your benefit as there is less inventory and the people who are house hunting are serious and need to find a home.  The above tips will help sell your home faster and for top dollar.