We all dream of a white winter wonderland. A thick layer of snowy icing on the lawn, roaring fires, candlelit windows, movie afternoons wrapped in thick, downy duvets. The spicy scent of mulled wine drifting in from the kitchen.
If your home is on the market and winter is on the horizon, you couldn’t hope for a more enticing scene…
But what about when the reality of a wet winter bites, with its muddy lawns and leaf-blocked drains?
If you want to win viewers’ hearts this winter, it’s time to tidy, style and sprinkle some sparkle. We can’t guarantee you a Christmas card snow scene, but we can share our best tips for winter viewing success.
Before your viewer even sets foot through the front door, their first impressions of your home will already be established. Your garden, driveway and front path may be the first things a viewer sees, so where better to begin your seasonal makeover?
Gardens can feel out of their element in the chilly climes of winter, with the laughter of summer a distant echo. Unless your garden is well stocked with winter colour, chances are it won’t be at its best right now.
Perk up your outside space with a planter of seasonal colour, or even a holly wreath. Also, stock your bird feeders with seed – particularly those close to windows. What viewer could resist the charms of a friendly robin redbreast?
Your favourite garden sunbathing spot may be out of commission for the winter, but unused shouldn’t mean forgotten. Remember to rake leaves over the wintertime to keep lawns looking loved.
If your garden is looking like a blank canvas right now, that could be a bonus. Allow would-be buyers to plant their own seeds of imagination by tidying up. Pack garden furniture away for the winter (particularly parasols). Treat any remaining tables and chairs to a scrub down.
Eagle-eyed viewers will be looking at more than the lawn and borders. They will have a keen eye open for maintenance issues, so be sure to pre-empt these by taking some preventative steps. Power washing paths and patios will keep them free of slippery moss. While less than appealing to the eye, more importantly, viewers could see it as an accident waiting to happen. Potential buyers don’t want to see a home that is going to cost them time and money in repair work. Gutters can get built up with a surplus of leaves at this time of year, so be sure to clear yours before any damage occurs.
If you feel your summer garden is a major selling point, don’t worry. A few well-placed photos of your garden during the warmer seasons will help viewers see what they are currently missing.
Last outdoor tip … if possible, ensure you have adequate outside lighting for late afternoon viewings. Once the clocks go back, the nights draw in with haste! Give your viewers a clear view of the path ahead.
Let there be light indoors too. Draw your viewers like a moth to the flame with amber-kissed windows. Opt for soft, lampshade mood lighting over the full beam of spotlighting.
Cosy doesn’t have to mean closed in. Leave the curtains open, even once your viewer has arrived. This will keep rooms feeling spacious and in touch with the outdoors.
With the nights drawing in, viewers will have less opportunity to see your home at its lightest and brightest. Reduced daylight means less chance for your home to reflect light and sparkle. Don’t worry, you can compensate for this by giving reflective surfaces a thorough clean and polish before any viewings take place.
Remember to clean the places you don’t expect viewers will look. Often forgotten spots include fridges, skirting boards and cobwebby corners. Pay particular attention to high-traffic rooms that might need a little extra polish and shine, such as downstairs loos.
Create a sumptuous feel by adding a sprinkling of softness throughout your rooms. A velvet cushion or a fluffy rug can add a cosy feel on a cool winter’s day.
This is especially true in bathrooms. Replace any threadbare bathmats with toe-sinking, plush, deep-pile rugs. It’s always a good idea to keep a set of super-soft luxury hand towels at the ready, for viewings only.
The key to winter viewing success is two simple words: warm welcome.
Treat guests to a glowing reception. Hallways should be kept at an ambient temperature, with no room forgotten about. Even if you have an unused box room, now’s the time to add a furry throw to the bed and crank up the thermostat.
Who can resist a roaring fire? If you happen to have a real fire, keep it lit! Nothing says sanctuary more than the crackle of logs and shimmer of ruby coals in the hearth.
Add a touch of magic to ornamental fireplaces and blocked up chimney breasts. Place pillar candles or a bowl of fairy lights in the alcove for an ethereal glow.
Follow these visual styling tips and you’ll guarantee a good-looking home for viewers. But as we know, it’s not all about looks, there are still two further senses to consider…
Smells can sway a viewer in one of two ways. Make sure your home’s aroma leaves them in fragrance heaven – and not running for the door.
A clean house smells fresh, so be sure to hoover the carpets and open windows in kitchens and bathrooms to air them before viewings to keep them free from funky odours. Air fresheners and incense can be a bit like ‘Marmite’ for viewers, so play it safe and try to avoid them if you can.
Nothing says ‘welcome home’ quite like the smell of freshly baked treats. Pre-bought (or freshly baked) gingerbread popped in the oven to warm will fill the air with winter spice, and provide a nifty nibble for viewers.
You could even buy ready-to-roll cookies and pop them in before a viewing, ready to serve up as a tasty treat.
Offer a reviving hot drink or cocoa or even mulled wine to your viewer. A restorative treat will go down wonders and help to establish your home as a welcoming haven from the cold.
Try not to be too quick to put up Christmas decorations. As magical and traditional as they may be to you, for a viewer they only add clutter. After all, you wouldn’t introduce a tree into the living room at any other time of year, would you?
With these tips in mind, it’s time to turn your home from ‘bleak’ midwinter to ‘chic’ midwinter.
And if we do happen to receive a dusting of snow this winter, do remember to clear a path to the door. After all, now you’ve taken our winter viewings tips, they’ll be lining up to get a glimpse of your home!
If the thought of putting your property on the market this winter is leaving you cold, why not engage the advice of the experts?
At Coopers, our team are always ready to help share our expert tips and advice on how you can help your home stand out and shine this winter.