If you’re preparing a new listing to go on the market this winter, you’ll want to take a somewhat different approach to staging the home and presenting it to potential buyers. After all, there’s a difference between asking someone to visit and view a home on a cheerful spring weekend instead of a gloomy winter day. You’ll need to offer a bit of extra incentive in the form of beautiful spaces, flattering photos, and exciting marketing collateral to make your wintertime listing stand out and draw in buyers and their agents.
Staging a listing in winter
Staging a listing in the cold of winter is all about using the season to showcase the warmth of the home. A home shown during the winter should feel like a welcome retreat, offering a glowing, toasty, and welcoming atmosphere when homebuyers enter.
In order to get your listing winter-ready, appeal to all of the senses as buyers and agents come in the door:
Trade out standard throw pillows for heavier textures like wool, cable knit, fur, and leather. Add a plush blanket along sofa arms and chair backs. Trade light, sheer curtains for heavier drapery material.
Add accessories made of warm woods and glowing metals like copper or rose gold instead of silver and chrome. These can help create an inviting glow and a sense of warmth throughout the space.
Of course, a crackling fire makes a wonderful soundscape for a winter listing. If the home doesn’t have a fireplace, consider burning some wood wick candles, which give off a similar sound. Play music in the background that offers the warmth of nostalgia, with retro classics from the 40s and 50s.
Fill the home with the aromas associated with wintertime, including spicy cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. If you’re not a chef, put a pan of water in the oven at 200° and add apple slices, orange peels, and pumpkin pie spice to mimic the smell of apple pie baking.
Offer potential homebuyers something warm to drink, like apple cider or hot chocolate. If you’re setting up a socially distanced open house or are scheduling several home tours on the same day, you can prepare these in a crockpot and keep them warm for hours.
How Hygge can transform your winter listing
Hygge has become a popular trend in both home decor and lifestyles over the last couple of years. Imported from Danish and Norwegian cultures, hygge refers to a focus on coziness and simplicity in order to add more warmth to everyday life—especially during the long, cold winter.
A focus on finding the hygge in your listing might involve any of the following strategies:
- Think of rooms in terms of the way they promote relationships and interaction. Emphasize the ways that people can come together and enjoy conversations, meals, and activities in the home.
- Candles are a huge design feature in hygge Curate a beautiful collection of candles and place an emphasis on warm ambient lighting to mimic the glow of candlelight.
- Minimalism doesn’t have to be cold. When applied to hygge, it means simplicity and a lack of clutter in the home. Work with your sellers to declutter the home for a restful, serene space. Use luxe textures in design elements to add warmth while keeping the color palette simple and soothing.
- Create a hygge nook with a plush, comfy chair, throw blanket, candle, lamp, and books. Allow buyers to picture themselves in this soothing setting at the beginning or end of each day.
- If your listing has a fireplace, make use of it in showings, either by lighting a fire or by bringing in candles and greenery to draw attention to this cozy design feature.
Marketing a listing in winter
Marketing your winter listing will have many of the same elements as marketing a listing any time of year. However, you’ll want to step up your strategies, since it may require extra incentive to get buyers out of their warm homes to come see a home in person, especially if the weather is particularly bad.
Make sure that photos are beautifully lit and reveal the home’s most desirable features. Open curtains, blinds, and shutters to let in as much natural light as possible. While you’ll want to show outdoor spaces, try to warm them up with extra pillows, blankets, and a fire bowl or fire pit. If there’s an outdoor fireplace, light it for the photos.
Planning for winter holidays
If you’re listing the home before Christmas and New Year, have your photographer take a few extra photos with decorative elements like wreaths, Christmas decor, or an ice bucket with champagne and sparkling fluted glasses. You may want to incorporate these within the MLS photo array or use them in marketing the property on your social media platforms.
If the house is already decorated for the holidays when it first goes on the market, you’ll need to have a new set of listing photos taken without the decorations. These should be swapped out as soon as possible once the holidays are over since the listing will immediately look dated on December 26.
Add extra follow-up for wintertime buyers
While this year’s calendar has been upended by the market shifts caused by the pandemic, it still holds true that the most serious buyers are looking in the wintertime. That means that it’s up to you to reach out and follow up with those who are interested enough to come out and see your listing in person.
Talk to the buyer’s agent and find out what the buyers liked, what they didn’t like, and where they are in the home search process. Every insight you gather will help you better position your listing for the current market and ensure that it is optimized for its next showing.