Stage a good show house in win­ter

George Herald - Private Property - - Property News -

Win­ter may not be the most in­tu­itive time to sell a home, but there are some sur­pris­ing ben­e­fits to stag­ing a win­ter show house.

Aside from the fact that you'll likely have less com­pe­ti­tion (many home­own­ers wait for warmer months to put their homes on the mar­ket), a win­ter show house of­fers some great op­por­tu­ni­ties to show off the cosier, more in­ti­mate side of your home.

David Ja­cobs, re­gional man­ager for the Raw­son Prop­erty Group, shares his top tips on em­brac­ing the win­ter sea­son to cre­ate an en­chant­ing and ir­re­sistible show house at­mo­sphere.


Win­ter af­ter­noons and evenings can get dark pretty early, which means po­ten­tial buy­ers of­ten ar­rive at a show house when it’s a lit­tle gloomy out­doors. Far from be­ing a prob­lem, Ja­cobs says this ac­tu­ally cre­ates a great op­por­tu­nity for sell­ers to show off the warm and wel­com­ing na­ture of their prop­erty.

“Walk­ing out of a gloomy day into a warmly-lit home in­stantly cre­ates a feel­ing of hap­pi­ness, com­fort and safety,” he says. “That’s a great sub­con­scious im­pres­sion to leave on a po­ten­tial buyer - they’ll as­so­ciate those feel­ings with your home, even if they don’t im­me­di­ately know why.”

Ja­cobs rec­om­mends leav­ing cur­tains and blinds open to al­low in­door lights to be­come an invit­ing bea­con to buy­ers, and choose warmwhite light­bulbs rather than cool or day­light colours to cre­ate a cosier glow.


Ven­ti­la­tion is help­ful for more than just tem­per­a­ture con­trol - Ja­cobs says it's also vi­tal to clear out any un­wanted scents that might linger in a win­ter home.

"In the colder months, we of­ten cook heav­ier, spicier meals, have steamier baths and show­ers, and keep our pets in­doors more of­ten," he says. "All of th­ese things can leave last­ing odours that are strangely dif­fi­cult to no­tice when you live in a space ev­ery day. I al­ways rec­om­mend sell­ers ask a trusted friend - or their es­tate agent - to do an un­bi­ased sniff test be­fore they show their home."

If you do have prob­lem ar­eas, Ja­cobs says crisp, win­ter air is a very ef­fec­tive nat­u­ral de­odor­ant, but sug­gests more in­ten­sive ac­tion (like steam-clean­ing car­pets and up­hol­stery) for tougher odours like pets and cig­a­rette smoke.

"It's also a good idea to wipe down your kitchen and bath­room walls, cup­boards and ceil­ings with an an­tibac­te­rial or an­ti­fun­gal cleaner, and avoid cook­ing any par­tic­u­larly pun­gent meals for a day or two be­fore a show house," he says. "Just try to do any clean­ing in ad­vance so that your home doesn't smell like bleach or de­ter­gent on show day - nei­ther of those are very en­joy­able win­ter smells."


Speak­ing of smells, win­ter may seem like the ideal time to fill your home with scents like bak­ing bread or cin­na­mon cook­ies, but Ja­cobs says less is def­i­nitely more in this re­gard.

“Nat­u­ral scents are ac­tu­ally much bet­ter than food-re­lated aro­mas in win­ter, un­less you want your buy­ers to be too dis­tracted by their stom­achs to pay at­ten­tion to your home,” he says. “Clean fra­grances like cedar, citrus or vanilla cre­ate a warm yet fresh at­mo­sphere, but they need to be sub­tle to be ef­fec­tive - you don’t want to im­ply that you’re cov­er­ing up a less pleas­ant odour. A scented can­dle in one or two rooms is gen­er­ally plenty - and as a bonus, the flick­er­ing flame will add to the com­fort­ing am­bi­ence!”


Warmth is just as im­por­tant in tem­per­a­ture as it is in at­mo­sphere, and Ja­cobs highly rec­om­mends light­ing a fire or putting a dis­creet heater on in your show house to take the edge off the win­ter chill. The good news for win­ter sell­ers is that you don’t ac­tu­ally need to heat a home all that much for it to feel toasty to a vis­i­tor step­ping in from the cold. Just a cou­ple of de­grees warmer than the out­doors makes a world of dif­fer­ence.

“It can be tempt­ing to close all your win­dows and doors and pump the heater or build a roar­ing fire,” says Ja­cobs, “but that’s likely to cre­ate a stuffy and sti­fling at­mo­sphere rather than the cosy com­fort you should be aim­ing for. It’s im­por­tant to bal­ance heat with ven­ti­la­tion so the air stays fresh and clean - par­tic­u­larly if you have an open fire­place or a very small home.”

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