Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat…you won’t sell your house while it looks like that!
While the whimsy of festive folk songs may conjure images of capering ruddy-cheeked children, of twinkling tree lights framed behind snow-frosted latticework and of plump, steaming turkey breasts, dripping in trimmings and set on grand dining tables just ready to be carved; the reality is a little more Dickensian fact than fiction.
The kids have churned the grass into a mud bath, the house looks tired and worn once the glamour of the Christmas decorations has gone and the house still smells vaguely like turkey curry a week on from Boxing Day.
But sometimes, needs must.
Panic not. If you are selling your home this festive season, take a look over our top tips to help you market your home more successfully over the wintertime.
1. Play to winter’s strengths.
Take advantage of the seasonal weather by creating a cosy sanctuary from the cold…your viewers might never want to leave!
Fight the impulse to close the curtains as soon as the sun drops. Instead, light your table lamps to create a warm and inviting glow through the windows.
If you have a log burner or open fire, now is the time to light it. Be sure that you have cleaned the glass on any multi-fuel stoves prior to lighting and that your hearth has had a good sweep and polish. Nothing beats the rustic allure of a crackling fire on a cold winter’s night.
For the icing on the (Christmas) cake, prepare some homemade treats to welcome your viewers.
Gingerbread is a fairly simple and seasonal recipe; not only does it store well, but the spicy smell of fresh-from the oven gingerbread can thaw even the coolest customer. Top tip – reheat premade biscuits in the oven just prior to viewing to release that enchanting aroma.
Freshly brewed tea in a pot, hot chocolate with a swirl of whipped cream and freshly mulled wine are other reviving refreshments with which to welcome visitors.
2. Give your garden some love.
You’ve tended your bedding plants lovingly all summer, your free-flowing hanging baskets have been the talk of the town! But now that summer is over, and you’ve tucked your garden up for the winter, do remember to check in on it from time to time. For working homeowners, the garden may barely catch your eye over the winter months; particularly if you’re up and away before the sunrise and home well after it sets.
However, whilst potential buyers may not be out to scrutinise your flowerbeds on a winter viewing, the subliminal effects of a tatty garden can contribute to that make-or-break moment in a viewer’s mind.
Consider your garden as an additional reception room. Hoover it of any dirt and debris in the same manner, with a quick rake up of leaves and blitz any green fuzz off the patio with a power washer. If you have an edging spade for the lawn, neaten up the edges for a crisp overall aesthetic appeal.
A bird feeder placed nearby a lounge or kitchen window can be especially charming on a viewing (who doesn’t love a Christmas robin?) but remember to keep the feeders cleaned and stocked.
Finally, a simple wreath of leaves and berries on a traditional front door can really set the mood around Christmas time.
3. Winter-proof your home.
If you’re thinking of putting your house on the market over winter, a seasonal tune up might be in order. Nobody needs a boiler backfire on viewing day!
Consider employing a professional to sweep the chimneys of any open fires or log burning stoves. This is particularly important if your stove has not been used over the summer, in case of nesting birds or blockages.
Fountains and ponds may be switched off for the wintertime, but ensure they are also drained, cleaned and stored carefully over this period. Clean and store any pumps or filter systems ahead of spring, to ensure that gentle splish-splash is ready to herald the spring again in a few months. Patio furniture should also be carefully cleaned and stored, to prevent damage. Ice can cause glass tables to crack, whilst upholstered chairs will encounter water damage in the inclement weather.
4. Turn up the heat.
No need to treat your viewers to sauna-level temperatures, but try to maintain a comfortable warmth throughout your home. This is particularly important if you will be out at work whilst viewings are taking place; time to get to grips with that pesky timer!
In spare bedrooms and lesser-used rooms, try to compensate for any stale energy and brighten the mood with a lit, seasonally-scented candle or even a small pot plant.
A warm welcome can also be created with a lick of paint in any tired rooms. This can particularly come to light in the post-Christmas period. Once the decorations have come down, see your spaces in a clear light. Is it time for a facelift?
5. No muddy shoes (or dogs) allowed!
Some of us are stricter on our ‘no shoes indoors’ policy than others, but to secure that winter sale, it’s time to get militant.
This can be particularly challenging if you have younger children, pets and no porch; but don’t despair!
In addition to dirt and odour, muddy shoes can wear out good carpets. Why not invest in a set of ‘house shoes’? For those with mobility issues and those not partial to slippers, this can be a great way of keeping your feet warm and snug at no detriment to the carpets.
Outdoor lifestyles don’t necessarily go hand in hand with cream carpets, especially for those with no boot room or porch. However, by installing a traditional boot scraper and brush by the front door, you will remind yourself to knock off the heavy-duty muck before entering. If in doubt, treat your carpets to a professional clean!
All done? Snuggle up and get ready for that sale. ‘Tis the season, after all…