Selling In Winter? Chill Out - It Might Be Easier Than You Think

By John Voket

Just because it's cold outside, or the days are short doesn't mean you need to dial down your hopes of selling home until spring. I recently ran across some inspiring winter home selling ideas from Dana Dratch, a long-time Georgia real estate professional and writer for

Dratch says while it's true that in most areas you'll probably have fewer buyers during the winter, you will have less competition from other sellers. Check out her tips for winter home sellers, which we will begin focusing on in this first of two installments.

According to Dratch, the top tip from REALTORS® is about snow and ice -- if the buyer can't get in easily, the house won't sell. That means keeping walkways and driveways free of the frozen stuff. If you're away frequently or live in an area that's subject to bad weather, it can pay to hire a service to regularly salts or shovels the driveway and sidewalks.

If you're showing during the winter, think "warm, cozy and homey," says Ken Libby, a real estate professional in Stowe, Vt. Before a buyer comes through, adjust the thermostat to a warmer temperature to make it welcoming. And if you have a gas fireplace, turning it on right before the tour can give the house a little ambience, says Libby.

Take advantage of natural light by making the most of the light you do have. Have the curtains and blinds cleaned and open them as wide as possible during daytime showings. Clean all the lamps and built-in fixtures, and replace the bulbs with the highest wattage that they will safely accommodate. Before you show the house, turn on all the lights.

Get the windows washed - they are one thing that many sellers don't even consider. In winter that strong southern light can reveal grime and make it look like the home hasn't been well maintained.

And to create a little atmosphere, tune the radio to the local classical station and turn it down so that you just hear it quietly in the background. In our next segment, we'll continue with Dratch's remaining tips to help you sell your house this winter.