Waterloo Region Winter Curb Appeal Tips for Homesellers
Recently we discussed whether trying to sell your Waterloo Region home in the colder months is a good idea. We offered our reasons for saying yes (you can check them out here if you missed them.) and also offered a few tips for getting your home ready for a winter showing.
We touched briefly on outdoor winter home staging, but today we wanted to take an even closer look at the issue.
When you take away the lush lawn, green shrubbery, and colorful flowers that make your home look lovely all spring and summer, you're left with drab winter curb appeal.
This does not have to be the case. Just because the trees are naked, and the ground is often covered with snow/slush/puddles doesn't mean your home has to be unappealing to potential Waterloo Region home buyers. With a few basic tweaks, you can master the task of stunning winter curb appeal.
Keep an Eye on Your Lawn
When people look at your house from the street, the lawn is probably the first thing they see. In the Waterloo Region in the winter, lawns aren't a carpet of green velvet by any means, whatever they look like in the summer. For many residents, the ground has been frozen and snow-covered for months by the time Christmas rolls around.
Then comes mud season. Are we right?
Even if your lawn is dormant for the whole winter, it can still be appealing if it is edged, raked, and weed-free. This could be a good time of year to reseed barren places, depending on your grass variety. However, overseeding some turf species in order to maintain a green lawn throughout the winter might actually harm the dormant grass.
Regularly walk your property and keep it clean. Is it likely that papers from other yards are blowing in? Are the grassy areas still covered in leaves? Are there any fallen tree limbs that need to be collected? Consider the perspective of a skeptic.
According to current statistics, 34% of those looking at homes are first-time buyers. These are the younger Millennial and even Gen Z buyers who demand the best, most notably a strong positive first impression. The appearance of a front yard contributes significantly to that.
Go Bold, But Be Careful
When staging a home for sale in the winter, people still expect to see something outside, and if you are still living there, it's only normal to still want to decorate a little to celebrate the coming holidays.
The trick is to keep things neutral, and non-denominational, while still adding some of that magical winter feeling everyone loves to see at this time of year. Wreathes, candles, winter flowers in pots or urns, twinkling lights and the like can all help here, but don't go overboard.
Often, when staging a Waterloo Region home's front facing outdoor space, it's best to forget about adding lots of little decorative pieces and focus on creating one stunning - and memorable - showstopper. Winter bloom filled urns, a pathway lit with simple solar lanterns or a truly impressive wreath on the front door can all do the trick.
Think Simplicity, Not Cluttered
People are drawn to simple landscapes by nature. It's soothing to see a clean and well-organized space. Keeping your front doorway simple and clean is the best way to give buyers confidence in the house instead of making them question who lives such a messy life.
A wreath with a winter motif will look great during the chilly months. But that may not be all your front entrance needs. Inspect your front door from a new perspective, that of a critical buyer. Make a plan to sweep away the leaves and muck on a regular basis. Boots and snow shovels should be packed away. Consider giving your front door a new coat of paint and hanging a classic wreath that will last past the end-of-year celebrations and into the remainder of the winter.
If you had your home photographed for a real estate listing, you presumably cleaned up the area around it. Now it's up to you to keep the momentum going.
Garbage cans and recycling containers should be hidden. It's time to find storage space offsite or in the back of the house if you have a utility trailer, a boat, an RV, or an underused car visible from the front of your house.
Wading pools, bikes, beach toys, and camping gear are all examples of summer toys that should be stored away. Outdoor furniture that is built to survive the weather, on the other hand, can sometimes be used in outdoor staging throughout the winter.
Whether it's for flowers or vegetables, not everyone wants to manage a large garden. If your house is on the market, the winter is an excellent time to reduce what appears to be unnecessary work for the next owner. Extra garden space can be converted to mulched areas, allowing the buyer to reseed, lay sod, put a swing set or pool, build a dog run, or plant the garden of their dreams in the spring.
Practice Safe Winter Selling
Make sure that anyone who comes to look at your house is safe. Buyers are ignorant of any uneven surfaces or other oddities where people normally walk because they aren't regular visitors.
Make your paths visible and clear of ice and snow by shoveling and sanding them. Before a scheduled viewing, double-check them to make sure they aren't slick.
Now is a good opportunity to remedy any outdoor hazards you've been ignoring because you've grown accustomed to them. Adjust any stepping stones that are uneven and could cause someone to trip. Repair any dangerous sidewalk cracks. Hire a handyman to fix the sagging handrail. Fix that loose brick on your front steps with some fast-patch cement or Gorilla Glue. On the porch or deck, secure any loose floorboards.
According to statistics, homeowners spend between 1% and 4% of their home's worth on upkeep and repairs each year, so don't think these simple fixes are a waste of money. It's completely normal and expected. Even a small amount of money invested in your home before you sell it can make a tremendous difference.
In the winter, curb appeal is more crucial than ever. It might seem tricky to make your home look appealing with bare trees, brown lawns, and the presence of snow and mud. But it can be done, and taking the time to pay as much attention to your outdoor winter home staging as you do to indoor staging really can pay off, both in terms of making a fabulous first impression and the perceived value home buyers place on your home in their minds.
Getting ready to buy a Waterloo Region home, or sell the one you own? Let Team Pinto use their huge local real estate experience and expertise to help you. Contact the award-winning Team Pinto here, or book a free Zoom consultation to discuss your unique Waterloo Region real estate needs here.