Tips for Showing Homes in Colder Weather
Most real estate agents know that the best time to show a home is typically in May or June, when the weather is nice and people like to get into their new homes over the summer. A great real estate agent, however, knows that if you’re good enough at your job, then any time of year is a great time to show a home, because you have the skills to get the job down no matter what’s standing in your way.
While a home may look better under blue skies, with a green freshly-mowed lawn and the sun shining in the sky, the reality is that some markets only get that type of weather for a few weeks if they’re lucky. This means you have to embrace not-so-favorable weather conditions – including cold weather, rainy weather, snow, etc., – if you want to be successful all-year round.
There are Benefits to Showing Homes in Less-Than-Desirable Weather
The first thing to understand about showing homes in “bad” weather is that some people actually prefer this type of weather. After all, a home is supposed to be a cozy place where you can have your shelter when the rain is pouring down outside or to watch the first snowfall of the season. It’s where holidays are spent in warm sweaters, with the smells coming from the kitchen and the fireplace running (okay, in some homes). This will give your client an opportunity to see the house truly as a home.
There are also other benefits:
- Cold weather means less competition
- Sellers are typically very motivated
- Closing is generally going to happen quicker because banks want to move faster
- You can see easily if something is not functioning in the home. Is rain seeping through the window? Is it too noisy? Is the heat working properly? While this may not be great for the seller, it will work in the potential buyer’s favor.
How to Show a Home in Colder Weather: 10 Tips
1) Take Listing Photos in All Weather Types
Most of the time, we only ever see listing photos of the house in the perfect weather. This no-doubt makes the listing more desirable, but is it honest? If you’re selling in an area that sees over 4 feet of snowfall every year, the buyer may be thinking, “Okay, this isn’t even realistic.” When you take – or edit – listing photos, make sure you have high-quality photos that show the home in every season in the best possible way that you can.
2) Always Check the Weather Forecast
Bad weather can still present a safety hazard, and you don’t want anyone getting hurt or slowed down on the way to a showing. All it does is shake up the nerves, and that’s not a good way to feel when you’re supposed to be finding your dream home. You want you and your client to feel as relaxed as possible before a showing. If the weather is going to be too bad, wait if it’s possible.
3) Stage the Home Accordingly
To give the home that cozy feel, be sure to stage the home to fit that. This may not be your expertise, but work with someone who knows what to do. Try blankets, have the fireplace going, and depending on the time of year, put some decorative lights up (though, best to be aware of your clients’ take on this). Have some candles that smell like pumpkin spice or sugar cookies, and watch your clients fall in love!
4) Make Sure the Home is Easily Accessible
The wintertime can be a tricky time to show homes, especially in the city. If the roads have not been paved and the driveway has not been shoveled, and the stairway has not been salted, this can present some issues. Again, safety should always be a priority, and that goes hand-in-hand with checking that you’ll be able to get to the property with ease.
5) Leave Yourself Enough Time
As a busy real estate agent, you could have many showings in one day and many clients to meet. So, be sure to leave yourself enough time given the weather to get to where you need to be. If you’re running late, you’ll already be on edge and your client will pick up on that.
6) Welcome With a Hot Drink
What’s better than walking into a showing in cold weather than being greeted with your choice of hot chocolate, tea, or coffee? (Or, pumpkin spice latte?). This gesture can go a long way when it comes to keeping your clients comfortable.
7) Have Space in the Entryway
With cold weather comes jackets, hats, scarves, gloves, etc. Make sure there’s an area where buyers can place these items as soon as they walk in, so they don’t have to be stuck holding them. Or, greet them at the door and offer to take these items from them.
8) Implement a “No Shoes” Policy
In addition to jackets, hats, scarves, and gloves, there are also shoes and boots. And, depending on the season and the weather, this can leave a yucky entranceway into the house, with slush and dirt everywhere. Ask buyers to take their shoes off as soon as they come inside, and have an area by the door that they can leave them (without having to worry about others throwing their shoes on top of theirs).
9) Have the Heat On!
This is a no-brainer, but if it’s cold enough, talk to the seller to be sure you can have the heating on. Even on the days where it’s not quite that cold yet, you may have buyers that run cold. Having to look at a potential home when you’re freezing and outer extremities have lost their color and numb, is no fun for anyone.
10) Set the Emotional Stage
So, you have all the physical aspects in place to create the right setting for buyers. But, you need to set the emotional stage, too. You want your clients to feel like they are in this home. Let them sit and relax. Ask them questions about what they normally do in this type of weather? Do they play outside with their kids? Show them where they could have a snowball fight in the backyard? Do they cook a big holiday dinner for their family? Show them where they can cook and where everyone can sit to enjoy it. Ask them to picture themselves here by helping them set the scene.
Showing homes in colder weather may not be as easy as it could be during other seasons, but if you know what you’re doing and have fun with it, you might actually find the experience to be enjoyable!