Preparing a House for Sale: Tips for an Open House in Winter

While there might be fewer people out on the market to buy a house in winter, you might still get a sale. If you plan on holding an open house, these tips can make sure any potential buyers keep warm and they walk away impressed by your home.

The real estate market in Philly might slow down during the winter, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still homes available, buyers looking for a new place, or sellers listing their properties for sale. Selling your home in winter has a few advantages, namely that it allows you to beat the spring rush to market. When you’re preparing a house for sale in the winter, there are a few things to keep in mind, especially if you are planning an open house. Make your space warm and welcoming and buyers will be rushing to submit offers.

Keep the Outside Clear

Walking outside after a snow storm or ice storm can be tricky. If you’re preparing a house for sale just after it has snowed or if the sidewalks are slick, be diligent about keeping the walkway up to your home, the sidewalk out front, and the front porch area clear of snow and ice. Shovel, even if there’s just a bit of snow, and make sure you throw down some salt, to minimize the risk of people slipping or getting hurt. You might want to shovel and salt the sidewalks in front of your neighbors’ homes, too, if you’re planning an open house the day after its snowed and they haven’t gotten around to clearing their sidewalks yet.

Find a Solution for Slushy Shoes

The best — and the worst — solution for slushy shoes is to ask those attending your open house to remove their shoes at the entrance. Although a “no shoe” rule will keep people from tracking snow, dirt, and water into your home, it’s likely to be perceived as a bit weird, and many people might not be into the idea of taking their shoes off in a strange home.

A more inviting solution is to place a thick and absorbent mat right in front of the door, so people can wipe their feet as they come in. You can also place a basket of disposable contractor booties by the door, and give people the option to slip those on their feet, over their shoes, before they come in. If it’s raining, a bucket for umbrellas gives people a place to leave theirs when they come in.

Make Things Toasty

You want your house to literally be warm and inviting during an open house. If there’s a chill in the air, buyers are likely to not be impressed, or they are likely to imagine themselves shivering in the home after buying it, making it less appealing. Go ahead and turn the thermostat up to 70 degrees or so when you’re holding an open house. If your home has a fireplace, you might consider lighting it to warm things up even more.

Keep Up with the Weather

When selling your home in the winter, you need to be flexible. Pay attention to the weather reports and be prepared to postpone your open house if a big blizzard is threatening to move through the area. People are less likely to visit open houses during major storms, so rescheduling can help make sure you and your agent aren’t wasting time.

Another way to help buyers warm up during a winter open house is to offer hot tea, hot chocolate, and coffee. There might be less competition in Philly in the winter, but you still want to do what you can to get into buyers’ hearts.

Image Source: Flickr/Randen Pederson


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