Ask the Expert: Selling a home in winter

Q: We will be putting our home up for sale in a few months but trying to sell a home during winter sounds like a real drag. The weather will be uninviting, and the trees and lawn will not look their best. What are some tips for getting buyers interested during the winter months?

I recommend, whenever possible, to plan in advance the summer before by taking pictures of your garden in full bloom and your yard from several angles. It’s great to have these pictures available for potential buyers to see while they’re in your home. You can also provide them to your real estate agent to use in the listing.

I also recommend documenting the condition of the roof and driveway, which could potentially be covered with snow and ice by the time you find a buyer. It will give them peace of mind knowing the condition of these big ticket items that would otherwise be a surprise upon breakup the following spring.

Your home’s winter appearance is important as the season consumes roughly half of our year in Alaska. If you’re showing your home during the snowy winter months, be sure to shovel the driveway, walkways and decks. Serious buyers will want to explore all areas inside and out. You set the tone of how well you maintain your home by providing a snow-free driveway and walkway.

Make the inside shine! You won’t have the large, grass yard and vibrant gardens for buyers to experience and fall in love with, so the inside of your home has to pull more weight during the winter months. Consider staging your home; it can help attract a larger pool of buyers, generate higher offers and is worth the financial investment.

Open blinds and window coverings to allow as much natural light as possible. During winter showings, buyers will be paying special attention to how much natural light the home gives. Consider painting dark walls a lighter neutral shade to help brighten and reflect more natural light.

Winter months have proven to be an exceptional time to sell homes. Ask to see market statistics from a real estate agent to show you the supply and demand and market trends for your price range and area. You may be pleasantly surprised how the market responds to a well-presented, properly priced home in the dead of winter!

Laura Halverson, a Certified Residential Specialist, Associate Broker and Realtor at RE/MAX, has been selling real estate since 2003. For information, visit propertybylaura.com.