Winter Curb Appeal, The Caledon Way
Unlike fall, winter curb appeal has a different focus. During the months of fall, a home can be decorated with a range of colors and easily look inviting to a casual passerby. However, in order to make a home look appealing in the winter, there are different tactics necessary to attract potential buyers.
While it may seem that spring and summer are the only times to sell a home, keep one thing in mind: There are ALWAYS a people looking to buy a home, regardless of the time of year. With job promotions, children moving out, new marriages, divorces and countless other reasons, circumstances change during the year for lots of people. If you are trying to sell a home then the following list can help you increase your home’s winter curb appeal and entice a buyer to sign a contract with you.
Keep the Property Safe
Before discussing the exterior improvements that add aesthetic appeal, we need to discuss functional safety. It really won’t help to spend time and money improving the looks of your home if people are afraid to walk along the sidewalk or step on the porch.
• You can never have too much light – in the winter months the days are short and it gets dark before most people can get home. Since real estate agents are typically meeting prospective clients after their workday ends, it is important to have good lighting. This includes lights along the outside walkway, on the porch and even at the rear of the home. Make sure the garage lights are working and if you have any motion-sensor lights then it is time to replace the bulbs.
• Make steps and handrails user friendly – If you have steps leading to the front door of your home, make sure they are in good condition. Wood can rot over time and will break at the worst possible time. Also, test out the strength of the handrails and make sure they are safe to use.
• Remove snow – If you live in a place that frequently gets a lot of snowfall make sure the snow is shoveled from the driveway and walkway before buyers arrive. Ensure any exterior steps are free of snow. Also, as an added touch, get rid of as many icicles hanging on gutters or the roof.
• Keep all debris removed – Keep out an eye for fallen limbs and piles of leaves. This may seem like a bit of extra work but it will improve the home’s look and keep visitors safe as they walk along the driveway and sidewalk to view your property.
The winter months are filled with cloudy skies and overall dreary looking days. Adding some color in key spots will help your home stand out from other sellers and hopefully help the home sell faster.
• Bright Door – One simple way to add some color is to repaint the front door and/or the trim around the door. A bright red, yellow, or blue can really add a bit of splash to the home. You can also get a nice wreath and doormat that has some colors to add a bit more spice.
• Plants and pots – Since the winter is missing the color of spring a simple fix is to get some nice, bright pots and add some plants designed specifically for winter. Species like juniper, blue holly, barberry, boxwood and red-twig dogwood are able to stay green throughout the year. Placing some of these plants near the door and along the walkway will add to the instant appeal of the home.
• A post box to remember – If your community or neighborhood will allow it, consider adding some color to the post box in front of the home. You could paint it to match the new color on the front door and coordinate it with a complimentary color.
• Invite birds to the home – At first glance, this may sound strange, but it can have a positive impact on the home’s look. By adding bird feeders or a bird garden, you can attract these beautiful creatures to your home at various times of the day. A bright red cardinal or sharp blue jay can create a stunning image against a snow covered bush or porch and leave visitors with something to remember.
• Colors on the chairs – If your home has a front porch big enough for a rocking chair, consider putting out a couple of chairs that have some bright colors. Although the winter weather may not be conducive for sitting out on the porch, potential buyers can see themselves in those exact chairs when the snow melts and the flowers start to bud.
Small Details that Matter
Besides the color and safety issues there are small things that most people can do to a home to make it seem inviting.
• Do a deep cleaning – Either do some pressure washing of the exterior walls and walkway or hire someone to do it. This deep cleaning will reveal the true color of the home’s walls and make the driveway/walkway look fresher.
• Trim trees and bushes for the house – It is smart to look at the trees and bushes around the home and trim them in a pattern that will accent the home. Bushes should be cut at the same height and stop just below windows to add more focus to the actual window. Tree branches need to be cut in a way that the form almost a frame that draws the visitor’s eye to the home.
• Repair the fence and especially the gate – If your home has any type of gate, whether it is in front of the home or in the rear, take time to ensure the gate swings freely. Repair or replace the latch or hinges. Make sure the gate is easy to open and close for any average adult. Remove any vines or other clutter from the fence.
• Replace your existing house number with new digits – Make a trip to the local hardware store and get some large numbers that are made in a nice, easy to read font. The large numbers will stand out to people trying to find the property and their new shine will be pleasing to the eyes.
• Scrub all the windows – In the chance that a prospective buyer visits your home in the evening, it is a sure bet that grimy windows will be a big turn off. The dirt will be easy to see at night with the lights of the home shining out to the yard. Take some time and invest some elbow grease and a good cleaning solution to get rid of dirt, fingerprints and anything else that is keeping your windows from sparkling.
• Stop mud from getting in the home – In the winter months filled with snow and rain, there is one constant: MUD. Instead of trying to rely on a doormat that will likely be overwhelmed in a matter of days, install a scraper for boots. These items are usually made of iron in order to withstand the elements and can be easily cleaned.
• Take a conservative approach to holiday decorations – Everyone has a different idea of how a home should be decorated for Christmas. Some people go all out with lights around the exterior of the home along with yard decorations and other items. Other people prefer a simple wreath on the door and a classic tree in the living room. Since you have no idea what your buyer will prefer err to the side of caution and keep things simple during the holidays.
Ideas to Help a Home Look Unique
If you are of the mood to spend some extra money to really make your home unique, here are a few ideas that will really change the winter curb appeal of your home.
• Embellishments for the garden – if your home has any shrubs or flowers planted around the perimeter of the home it is a good chance that some of these items will lose their color in the winter. Consider adding some bright colored items among the plants to add a bit of splash. Orbs that are silver or gold can really add a nice touch to the area. You may also consider adding a short flag pole in the garden that can hold a seasonal banner.
• A lantern out front – If your home has a fence around the front of the home, a nice wrought iron lantern hanging on a wooden post can add a homey feel to the property. The lantern can be electric, gas-powered or even work off a battery.
• Lights at the driveway entrance – I
f you live in an area without much street lighting it may be tough for people to find your home in the evening hours. A light atop a post on either side of the driveway can be a beacon to visitors and add warmth to the home’s general look.
Hopefully this list has shown that you can increase your home’s winter curb appeal and provide you with an opportunity to entice a potential buyer to take advantage of your lovely home.