Tips For A Successful Winter Open House

A winter open house can be more challenging than one in spring or summer. Not only are there fewer buyers checking out the housing market, there are also weather and timing issues to contend with. If you must sell your home in the winter, use the following open house tips to make it go more smoothly.

Tip #1: Avoid the holiday season

The period from Thanksgiving to Christmas isn't the best time for an open house. Most people already have full social calendars, so they don't have the time available on the weekend to set aside to attend. Instead, schedule the open house either at the beginning of November for an early winter sale, or wait until January. If you can put it off until February, you may be able to catch a few of the early spring buyers, which increases the amount of views and possible offers placed on your home.

Tip #2: Plan for the weather

If you are lucky, you will have a clear, crisp winter day for your open house. More likely, though, is that there will be snow or wet. Make sure the walk and drive is cleared before anyone arrives. Coming into the house, lay down a thick rubber rug outside the door to catch snow and ice, and a thick carpeted rug indoors to absorb moisture. Also, make sure there is a spot available for potential buyers to stash wet outdoor gear, like coats and umbrellas.

Tip #3: Turn up the heat

Every inch of the home should feel warm and cozy – a single chill can scare off a buyer. Turn the heat up a little higher than usual to makeup for the constant traffic in and out. If you have a fireplace, consider using it to add a bit more warmth.

Tip #4: Wow with refreshments

Punch and cookies may be the standard fare at a summer open house, but you need to appeal to the senses for winter. Instead of cold fare, provide a selection of fancy teas, hot coffee, rich cocoa, and fragrant hot cider. Serve warm brownies or a spiced coffee cake instead of cookies, since these feel more warm and cozy in winter. As an added benefit, the fragrance from the apple cider will add to the ambiance of the home.

Talk to your real estate agent for more tips on preparing for a winter open house. With proper planning and attention to details, you can sell your home even in the slow season.