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Cover story: Make home a hot prospect as cold reigns
Question of the Day
Ms. Bucuvalas said sellers need to make sure they get rid of leftover plants and replace them with seasonal plantings or evergreens.
“People don’t expect flowers in winter, but you need to make sure your front door is freshly painted and that you have done everything you can to improve the appearance of your home,” she said.
If snow and ice fall, sellers must be vigilant in keeping paths, sidewalks and steps clear for potential buyers.
“A new doormat makes a big difference outside, and then you need another new one inside so that people can wipe their feet before they walk through your house,” Mr. Suranna said. “You can also ask people to remove their shoes or supply them with a box of shoe-protector booties near the front door.”
One issue that arises from Halloween through New Year’s Day is whether to decorate for the holidays.
“It’s better to have less than more,” Ms. Alderice said. “If you go all-out with decorations, it may be time to tone it down a little because you don’t want to overwhelm or offend anyone.”
Ms. Alderice said cleaning a home’s windows can go a long way to improving its appearance because this will let in more light and make the rooms sparkle.
“I recommend hiring a maid to get into all the nooks and crannies of your house and really make it shine,” Mr. Suranna said. “You need to do all the mini-maintenance tasks you can, like caulking the tub and even cleaning out your refrigerator because buyers look there, too.”
Because darkness comes earlier in the winter, Mr. Suranna suggested using a timer so the home’s interior and exterior lights go on automatically at 5 p.m. If the home is vacant, he suggested investing in some pole lights for rooms without overhead lighting.
“You should have your fireplace cleaned and make sure it doesn’t smell,” Ms. Alderice said. “And make sure your heat is turned up enough so that buyers aren’t freezing when they walk through your home.”
While selling a home in winter may be a little more challenging than in the spring, sellers who take extra steps to improve their home’s condition and to check out the competition can reap the rewards before spring arrives.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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