Selling a house at any time of year can be challenging. In many parts of the country, winter sales can be the toughest of all.
Difficult weather conditions such as heavy rain or snow can leave sellers with some very delicate hosting choices when it comes to letting strangers into their house.
The best way to properly receive people into your house is to have an advance plan of what your expectations are and what your visitors should be aware of.
Why on earth does this matter?
I remember once when I was looking at a property in the fall. That time of year, the streets were full of leaves. I was going to see a house that was somewhat out of my normal search area. That was fine because after the visit, I was going to a party in the general area. The whole “two birds with one car trip” thing. I dressed for the evening after deciding it best to dress and not return home.
So I went to see a house for sale in some vintage booties that had taken me almost twenty minutes to put on. They had buttons and loops that required a special tool, and some acrobatics, for fastening.
I was rocking them with style!
I arrived at the house to learn that the owner expected people to remove their footwear because she had cream colored aubusson rugs throughout the house.
Under my breath I nearly lost it! Here was a seller who cared more about her carpets than selling her house!
I knew that if I removed my boots, I would not be able to put them back on without the tool.
While secretly I admired her conviction to keep her house clean, my visit was wasted because I could not see enough of the house from the entry to make the determination if I even wanted to go back on another day. I never did.
She lost any possibility of my offer. Just. Like. That.
It made me very curious as to why she didn’t discuss this beforehand. Had I known of this condition, I would certainly have visited on a day where I was wearing something easy to remove and appropriate.
So How Does A Seller Prepare For Winter Buyers?
Do a mental walk through of what will happen when a buyer visits.
- Will there be a possibility of rain or snow?
- Will they have to walk over mud, wet grass or leaves, sand or ice salt to get in your door?
- Will you ask them to remove heavy boots, all footwear, or is your house weatherproof with a little post-visit mopping?
- What if they come in with dripping umbrellas? Do you have a handy place ready to store them?
- What about rain coats or winter coats? Do you have a place to hang them, or are you willing to drape potentially dripping garments over your sofa?
Decide prior to accepting a visit if you will have any conditions and make sure the buyers are aware. It is better to get it out in the open, and give them advance notice than to have an awkward situation when they are already at your house!
Actions You Can Take To Make Visits Easier
- Have an available chair near the entry to give buyers the choice to sit when removing footwear.
- Keep mats handy to absorb any run-off. There is nothing worse that walking through puddles in stocking feet before going back outside!
- If you don’t happen to have an umbrella stand, keep a small, clean bin available for wet umbrellas
- Invite your buyers to remove their coats. It is to your advantage to make the process of leaving longer to give them more time to consider your house!
- Make sure you have enough closet space with hangers, or a coat rack with the option of hangers. If that is just not possible in your house, place a polar throw on your sofa to keep water from penetrating into your upholstery, and drape the coats over that.
My last house was a heritage Victorian that was over a hundred years old. Sounds charming, but that also meant it came with some quirks. The electric meter was in the kitchen! A few times a year, the power company came to read it – just to confirm.
Even though the person coming to read the meter would remove rubber overshoes in the winter, his (dirty) construction boots were still wet! Yuck!
I got tired of rolling up Persian runners like a crazy fool and mopping for 15 minutes after a 2 minute visit!
There had to be a better way!
I realized watching some medical show that surgeons wore covers on their shoes.
Some of them even told me they would buy some too, because their wives always complained of dirt at home!
Moral of the story?
For about twenty cents, that woman may have sold her house to me!
So that is what I learned over the years about winter visits to houses. I would love to learn any tips or tricks you have discovered!
If you are putting your home on the market, the holidays can be a very stressful time. Most people are not focused on buying a house at this time of year. This may extend the time it takes to sell your property.
If selling during the holidays isn't something you wish to consider right now, we can help.
If you have come to the realization that it is time to move right now to have a better life, but your house isn’t ready for market, we can help.
If you are juggling too many responsibilities to sell your house yourself this fall, then there are people who specialize in the sale of properties "as is" - usually within a week to resolve the situation quickly. We have a team of professionals able to assist you immediately.
Contact us for details.
Next time we will look at preparing your house for the winter.
So thanks for reading my post. I'm so glad you're here!
And I really look forward to getting into more great stuff in future posts -- so that you can
Turn Your House To $OLD!