As I write this, the forecast for tonight is snow, not much but it seems like it’s a little early this year. Most of us with the exception of skiers, snowboarders, shovel and snow plow makers don’t particularly care for winter. Winter brings cold, snow and often a challenging time to sell your home. This is why it is especially important to maintain strong curb appeal throughout the winter.
Curb appeal is the first impression people get. Due to the number of real estate websites, it is much easier to get addresses of homes. Therefore, although we can say “this home isn’t a drive by ”, the fact is people looking to buy a home can dismiss yours simply by driving by. If you haven’t bothered to move snow away from the front porch, entryways or deck, or if your home is cluttered on the outside, people are going to assume that it is a mess inside. If the gutters are full or falling off the person driving by is going to assume that the house needs work inside. This might not be fair or accurate, but it happens. Although the fixes below are geared around wintertime, many are applicable year round:
Get rid of the snow: Move it away from your walkways and driveway. Don’t wait for me to call to say “we have a request for a showing” to shovel the back steps or deck. When you get a call for a showing, be ready and have a clear path to the door. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to shovel a walkway right before the potential buyer gets there. I don’t mind, but the buyer might deduce that the seller doesn’t care much about selling and can dismiss the home before they even get inside. Keep in mind that all the upgrades inside the house are worthless if we can’t get buyers inside. You may have spent money putting in a new vanity or painting the bedrooms, but if you don’t get rid of the snow, we won’t be able to get people inside, so stay on top of snow removal.
Check the heating system: Have the heating system serviced. It shows buyers that you care about the upkeep of your home. Fireplaces and wood burning stoves should also be cleaned on a regular basis.
Test fire and carbon monoxide detectors: These won’t be checked until your REALTOR® brings the fire department through, but for your own safety check them regularly.
Check the roof: Look for damaged or loose shingles, gaps in the flashing as well as damaged mortar around the chimney. Check the roof periodically after storms to make sure you don’t have too much snow up there. Proactive maintenance can prevent emergencies and expensive repairs.
Mold: Go up in the attic and look around for mold on the roof sheathing. If you see what you think might be mold call a remediation company to see about removal. Most remediation companies will offer some type of warranty. This will give buyers the confidence it won’t return and if it does can be remedied without costing them money.
Maintain steps and handrails: It is great that you got all the snow off the steps but make sure there are no broken steps and or loose railings.
Shut down outside water: Shut down outside faucets and make sure you drain the lines so no water can freeze, expand and burst a pipe. If you have a small pool that can come inside, bring it in.
It doesn’t take much effort or even money in most cases to improve your curb appeal during the winter time. If you get rid of that snow from entryways to the house and follow the simple fixes above, you will have buyers with snow covered boots walking all over your clean carpets in no time and maybe even a sale!!!
If you have any questions about this article, real estate in general or are looking to buy or sell a home please contact me, John McCarthy at Rowley Realty, 165 Main St., Rowley, MA 01969, Phone: 978 948-2758, Cell 978 835-2573 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org