Whether you love it or hate it, winter has officially arrived in Ottawa! With only a few short weeks left before the start of a new year, Ottawans are now looking forward to taking some time off during the holiday season, skating with friends and family on the Rideau Canal, and heading down to the ByWard Market to experience Thirty Days of Christmas in the heart of Ottawa.
December is also a common time for Ottawa residents to start thinking about buying or selling a home. While the real estate market is traditionally busiest in spring, several buyers and sellers prepare for the year ahead by listing their home or beginning their property search in the earlier winter months. According to the latest sales report from the Ottawa Real Estate Board, the holiday period is statistically the highest property search period.
Keep this holiday period in mind if you’re looking to showcase your home to as many buyers as possible. Not only are there plenty of potential buyers searching in December, but there’s something about the holidays that can make a house feel more homey. Whether you use holiday decorations and Christmas lights or you take pride in your home’s pristine winter condition, the holiday season can be the perfect time to show off your property and give prospective buyers the chance to see your home at its best.
Take a look at the tips below to help you host your next winter open house!
Bright, Warm Atmosphere
Potential buyers are coming into your home from the cold, so make sure they warm up fast! Keep the temperature at a comfortable level though, because most buyers will be wearing heavy winter clothing. A buyer will have an easier time remembering the details of your home if they’re comfortable while they walk from room to room.
It’s also important to keep the lighting in mind when you’re preparing for your open house. The dreary weather outside makes for a lack of natural light, so do what you can to brighten up your home with your indoor lights. Try to keep it balanced: lots of light can often show off the best features of your home, but in some rooms you might find a softer light is better.
Highlight Your Home’s Winter Features
Every home has something that looks its best in the winter! If you have an oversized porch, show it off with a large holiday wreath or other outdoor decorations, like small planted trees or a festive welcome mat. Decorating the pine tree in your yard with some Christmas lights is an easy way to bring attention to the outdoor features of your property at this time of year. A prominent window can quickly and easily be dressed up with some lights or a holiday window display as well.
If you have a woodstove or fireplace, be sure to have it on during your open house. Not only will it add to a cozy atmosphere, but it will show that your fireplace is fully functional and in good working order, something that a buyer will be watching for.
Keep it Tasteful
While you want to keep your home looking its best, you should also remember to keep your holiday decorations tasteful while your home is on the market. Keeping it neutral and tasteful is the best way to appeal to the widest variety of potential buyers!
Consider a holiday centrepiece in your kitchen or dining room, with a few tasteful holiday displays in bedrooms or bathrooms. Your Christmas tree is also a great way of making your house feel instantly more homey, without being too distracting. Buyers should feel welcome in your home, but it should also be made easy for them to see all the details of your home while they’re visiting. Check out our Holiday Home Inspiration board on Pinterest to get a few ideas!
With winter weather comes snow, sleet, ice, and hail. It’s very important to keep that in mind as you get your home ready to host an open house. Be sure to keep your driveway and walkways shoveled and salted, and don’t forget to clear any icicles from your eavestroughs. In addition to keeping potential buyers safe, you’ll be showing that your home is well maintained throughout the winter months.
It’s also a good idea to store away your shovels and buckets for the duration of your open house. Leaving these outside might be unsightly, and you also risk having your guests trip over them if they’re in the way. If you can, keep them in the backyard or in your garage for a few hours.
Clean and Tidy
Once you’ve got the outside of your home clear of snow and ice, spend a little time focused on your main entrances. Winter weather is easily brought indoors on coats, scarves, and muddy winter boots. Make sure you clear your entrances of shoes and boots, and give your floors a quick wash to get rid of mud or other spots.
Hang your winter coats up in a spare closet so your buyers can use your hall closet or coat rack when they walk in the door. If you have a door to your backyard or a mud room, try to keep this area as tidy as possible so that buyers can still see all the areas of your home, even if they don’t have the opportunity to explore the entire outdoor space.
If you have any additional tips, please feel free to add them in a comment! If you’re thinking of starting a property search, be sure to take a look at some upcoming open houses in the Ottawa area.
For those who are thinking of listing their home or starting a property search, you can contact us directly or browse our website for a sales representative who can help you. We’re happy to provide a free, no obligation market evaluation of your home, or you can check out our online guides for buyers and sellers. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog to receive regular updates about the Ottawa real estate market!