Daniel Killick, Manager of the Kew branch of London lettings and estate agency Chestertons, shares his tips on making your home extra attractive to buyers in winter:
Let there be light
If you’re taking viewings in the evenings, natural daylight won't be on your side, but prospective buyers will still want to get a good look at the condition of the internal features and décor. Create a warm, cosy and subtly lit feel that everyone will love coming home to by introducing extra sources of light into each room. Low-level table lamps and large floor lamps will create the feeling of space, while spotlights will highlight key features. Fairy lights can accentuate architectural features such as beams or fireplaces or brighten up shelves and alcoves, or can prove enticing when placed in windows, doorways and porches.
Baby it’s cold outside
While a buyer might not have big plans for any garden or outdoor space right now, overlook it at your peril. Anywhere with the potential for summer barbeques or that offers extra outdoor storage shouldn’t be forgotten about just because it’s parky out. A set of solar garden lamps can illuminate paths, shrubs or rockeries, while spotlights tilted upwards or a row of simple outdoor fairy lights can make more of pretty trees.
Ensure a warm welcome
Enveloping them in warmth as soon as you open the front door helps draw in visitors as prospective buyers – this could be their new front door, and doesn’t everyone want to get in from work on a cold, damp day to a lovely cosy home? Make sure the heating is on, and highlight features such as real-flame gas fires, Agas or log burners by having them lit.
Don’t leave the gardening
Layers of leaves, overgrown lawns or weeds can easily detract from a great outdoor space. A quick sweep, mow or rake should ensure viewers see the best bits, and demonstrates your garden, drive or courtyard is kept well maintained. Don’t forget paths and walkways, either, and try to keep your front step or porch free of leaves and debris to create the right first impression.
Drive home your advantage
Safe, convenient and free parking is always a bonus, particularly in crowded cities, so consider leaving your space or driveway empty for your viewer to shorten their journey or avoid walking through cold or dark streets or lanes to get to your house. If you’ve on or off-street parking right outside your property, make sure the agent passes the message on so your viewers know they can drive directly to you; if the agent is handling the viewings then ask if they will chauffeur them right to your front door.
Strike the right mood
Small details like the smell or the mood of the lighting lend a subtle but important appeal to the feel of a house and can influence the outcome of a house viewing. Take advantage of the festive season and wintery weather by lighting scented candles, or hanging subtle decorations and lights. If you have an open-fire or log burner you could even throw some pinecones on the fire for that unique Nordic scent of pine forests in winter. You could even serve hot chocolate or mulled wine, to really get everyone in the mood.
Keep clear of clutter
Prospective buyers always want to visualise their own furnishings, so keep everything tidy and clutter to a minimum to maintain the 'blank canvas' effect as best you can. If it’s time for the Christmas decorations to go up, then keep things subtle and simple, but bear in mind not putting any up at all isn’t very cheery and can make the space look minimalist or miserly. A welcoming range of winter props such as textured scatter cushions, table lamps, rugs and throws will help everything seem warm and inviting, and can even be used to disguise tired carpets or soft furnishings without having to fully dress the rooms or buy a whole new sofa or suite for the house you’re trying to sell.
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