Winter makes doing most anything more complicated. The simple act of going to see a home on the market is harder when there is snow, rain, freezing temperatures and wind. During the summer you might just grab your keys and go, arrive at the house, walk right in the front door, maybe kick off your flip-flops and start the tour.

  • Keep the property looking easy to maintain by shoving the driveway and walk.
  • Place a chair near the door so people have a place to sit while they take their boots off.
  • Be sure to leave lights on so no one walks into a dark room post daylight savings.

Winter makes doing most anything more complicated. The simple act of going to see a home on the market is harder when there is snow, rain, freezing temperatures and wind.

During the summer you might just grab your keys and go, arrive at the house, walk right in the front door, maybe kick off your flip-flops and start the tour.

That same viewing experience during winter might involve you getting bundled up in your winter’s best coat, scarf, hat, gloves and boots.

It could include a harrowing drive through snow and a walk through unshoveled sidewalks. Once you reach the front door, you might have to deal with frozen lockboxes, nowhere to wipe your feet and no place to take off your boots.

When showing a house during the winter months, we must take extra steps to ensure our potential buyers have a lovely experience, thus leading them to buy the house they felt comfortable in rather than the one they struggled to get a look at.

Here is a list of things to take into consideration when showing a home in winter:

Courtesy of Nest

Courtesy of Nest

1. Set the thermostat temperature to 68 degrees

Human beings have a 4-degree comfort zone between 68 and 72 degrees. Your potential buyer will be entering your house from a much colder outdoor temperature and will have on heavy coats, hats, boots and so on.

We want them to be comfortable, but we don’t want them to be boiling in comparison to the outside. Remember, they are only going to be there for seven to nine minutes. We want a small, comfortable transition to 68 degrees, not an overheating of 72 degrees.

2. Provide a place to sit down at the entrance

If space allows for a small bench or chair near the front door, put one there. Many of your buyers will automatically remove their boots if they are wet, whether asked to or not.

Giving your buyer a place to sit down and remove them will make their viewing experience easier.

3. Provide a place to wipe feet

We tend to use large 4×5 foot black industrial walk-off mats both inside and outside the front door. These mats solve two problems, both helping to keep the home’s floors clean as well as allowing your potential buyer to be comfortable and keep their shoes on if they so choose.

4. Shovel the driveway and sidewalks

Folks that are looking for houses in the dead of winter are serious. They are often traveling from distant locations to look at many homes in a limited amount of time.

No amount of weather is going to stop them from taking a look at the home as time is their greatest concern. Make sure the house looks like it’s easy to maintain with freshly shoveled sidewalks, driveways and clear, easy paths to your front door.

5. Leave a light on

Daylight hours are limited during the winter months. Entering a darkened home in the pitch black brings feelings of fear and discomfort.

We place all of our lamps on timers that turn on around 8 a.m. and turn off around 8 p.m. This ensures the house will be lit fully whenever a potential buyer enters. We tend to stay away from incandescent bulbs due to energy consumption and fire hazard.

Is selling a house in the dead of winter ideal? No, it’s not, but it is necessary sometimes. It’s also not the end of the world. Just keep in mind what your buyers are going through to see your house, and try to make their stay as comfortable as possible.

 Justin M. Riordan is the founder of Spade and Archer Design Agency. Follow Spade and Archer on Twitter or Facebook.

Email Justin M. Riordan.

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