Time to Move?

By: Janice Clements

During the winter months, many begin asking the question about whether to renovate their current home or move to one that better meets their needs.  Those considering this type of change often face a tug-of-war process that can confuse even the most decisive homeowners.

Conducting a "space inventory" will help you determine whether if renovated your current home could be all you want it to be.  Consult a Realtor and a contractor to determine if the changes you want to make to your home are feasible and will add optimal value to your investment. If you come to the realization that even if renovated your current home won't meet your needs, it may be time to move.

While making the decision to list your home during the winter months may not be your first choice, there is something to be said for selling at a time when there are fewer houses on the market.  Less competition means your home can get more attention from the pool of potential home buyers.

As a seller you can make the most out of the cold months by featuring your home as a cozy retreat perfect for blustery Canadian winters.  Highlighting the warmth of each of your spaces can show buyers a space ready to welcome them home.   

When buyers pull up in front of your home, they should be met with a clear driveway and sidewalks.  There's nothing more unappealing than a slippery and dangerously icy driveway or front porch.  If you can't clear the snow and ice yourself, hire a local student to keep all pathways free from the white stuff while your home is for sale.

Once your paths are clear, display outdoor urns and pots filled with winter-friendly bows, evergreens and magnolia leaves purchased from your local gardening centre.  If it's the time of year when it gets dark in late afternoon, ensure all outside light bulbs and fixtures are in proper working order and turn them on to give your house a warm glow.

Particularly in the winter months when all the windows and doors are shut tight, there's nothing like the smells of home.  Once the 'For Sale' sign goes on the lawn, keep a stock of pre-made cookie dough in the fridge so that you can bake them up just before a showing.  Consider simmering a cinnamon sticks and orange on the stove.  These delicious smells will permeate your home and will up the cozy factor.

If you have a functioning wood burning fireplace, stock up on long burning fire logs and light one just before your open house begins.  Light a fire in a wood stove or ensure your gas fireplace is turned on before any potential buyers visit.

Whether it is winter, spring, summer or fall, keep your front entrance meticulously clean when selling your home.  An open and clutter free front hall is always the first and best way to make a good impression.  As always, turn on all the lights and open all the window coverings to make your home as bright as possible.

When staging your home in the winter months, it’s important to ensure that each of the rooms in your home have a cozy element.  Purchase or borrow throws to drape over a chair or sofa in your living room and family room.  Fold thick, lush blankets or quilts at the end of the beds in your home to warm up the space. 

The winter months can be prime time for entertaining guests, inside or out.  Show potential buyers the entertaining possibilities your home offers by “staging” your dining room with a few pieces of your most elegant looking serving dishes and linens or vases filled with fresh, seasonal flowers.

If you have a covered porch, whether in the front or back of your home, show how it can be used even during the winter months.  If an outdoor fireplace is available, light a fire and keep the space furnished with durable outdoor furniture.  Light some candles and drape warm throws over the furniture to give potential buyers a reason to want to return and curl up in front of the fire.  

Preparing your home for sale regardless of the time of the year is about setting a stage for buyers to be able to see themselves living in your space.  The more ideas you create by employing good staging techniques, the more likely you will find the process of selling during the winter months a painless one.



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