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may2014 1.jpg

Selling in Winter

Winter presents its own unique set of challenges. Many property owners are of the view that Winter is not the ideal time to put their property on the market, primarily because they think their home won't show as well.

However, there are some key benefits to listing your home in the Winter and simple steps you can take to brighten your home and make it more appealing to potential buyers.

The season of opportunity. Less people sell in the Winter, which means less competition. Our research shows that people who are looking in the Winter months are serious buyers. Serious buyers + less competition = increased opportunity to sell your house for a good price, rather than getting lost in the clutter of the spring rush.

Some ways that you can make your property more attractive to buyers in the Winter are:

Let in the light

Pull up the blinds and open the curtains on every window and turn on every light in the house.

Turn up the heat

If you have a heater or fire in your home, turn it on an hour before your open home begins. It's better to heat the house one or two degrees warmer than usual. You want the temperature inside to be comfortable, enticing people to linger a little longer, especially on a cold Winters day.

Make your home visually pleasing!

First impressions definitely count when it comes to making your home stand out from your competition. The property is where potential buyers make their first impressions; rake up leaves, clean around garden beds, sweep paths and clean front windows and doors. Add a bit of greenery and colour by placing some potted plants at your front door or entrance way.

In some cases we have had vendors who have given us a photo album of their property to show how it looks in Summer, Autumn and Spring so that we can present this at our open homes to the buyers. The buyers can get a sense of how the garden and home will look during these other seasons.

 

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Dodge the draft

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your energy use. Start simple and adopt that old Great Depression fixture -- the draft snake, which you can easily make yourself. Just place a rolled bath towel under a drafty door, or make a more attractive DIY draft snake with googly eyes, felt tongues and the like. You can use any scraps of fabric -- even neckties -- and fill with sand or kitty litter for heft.

Run Fans in Reverse

Most people think of fans only when they want to be cool, but many ceiling units come with a handy switch that reverses the direction of the blades. Counterclockwise rotation produces cooling breezes while switching to clockwise makes it warmer: air pooled near the ceiling is circulated back into the living space - cutting your heating costs as much as 10%!

Turn Down Your Water Heater

While many conventional water heaters are set to 140 degrees F by installers, most households don't need that much steam, and end up paying for it -- in dollars and the occasional scalding burn. Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees F (or lower) would reduce your water heating costs by 6% to 10%.

If you start to wonder why you need a tank at all, then you may be ready for a tankless water heater, or to go solar.

Insulate Your Pipes

Pay less for hot water by insulating pipes. That can also help decrease the chance of pipes freezing, which can be disastrous. Check to see if your pipes are warm to the touch. If so, they are good candidates for insulation. (Use the same method to determine if your hot water heater would benefit from some insulation.)

You can get pre-slit pipe foam at most hardware stores. Cut it to size and fasten in place with duct tape. Ideally, choose the insulation with the highest R-value practical, which is a measure of its heat-blocking power (ask the shopkeeper for assistance).

Boost Insulation

Insulation is one of the best ways to save energy and money at home. It can make a big difference to add more insulation between walls, and make sure your attic floor and basement ceiling are well covered.

Use Caulking and Weatherstriping

Simple leaks can sap home energy efficiency by 5% to 30% a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That means it pays to seal up gaps with caulking and weatherstripping.

Take a close look at places where two different building materials meet, such as corners, around chimneys, where pipes or wires exit and along the foundation. Use the incense test: carefully (avoiding drapes and other flammables) move a lit stick along walls; where the smoke wavers, you have air sneaking in. And heating or cooling sneaking out.

In another method, have someone on the outside blow a hair dryer around each window while you hold a lighted candle inside. If the candle flickers or goes out, you need to caulk or weather strip around the frame.

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