We all know our houses can look less than inviting during the winter months and even on the French Riviera it can get cold and damp, so what to do if you are trying to sell your home? Do you even consider taking it off the market until spring?
Well, in my opinion, despite the many challenges winter can bring us, selling your house should not be one of them and while things are not looking their best, you can make your home gleam with winter charm with just a few preparation tips.
Is your garden path still covered in fallen leaves, or is the dead Christmas tree still rolling around the garden where you left it, promising to take it to the tip? Take a good look around the garden and parking area, does it look inviting, can we get to the front door without wading through mud and leaves or slipping on a moss covered stone path?
Heat it up
Despite the fact we are on the French Riviera, as you all know it can get quite chilly. Make sure your house is warm when prospective purchasers arrive to view, even the rooms you don’t use. I have arrived to blazing fireplaces in the living room, only for the rest of the house to be freezing and the owner proudly telling the prospective buyer, “Oh, I can’t keep it warm all over the house, so I just move in here during the winter and stoke the fire up.” Not the best advert for your home!
Talking of fireplaces, if you have a working one, get it lit a good hour before the viewing and ensure it stays so for the visit. Same goes for heating itself. This is especially important if your home is empty and you have a key holder who opens up. Ask them to go over earlier to turn the heating on before the viewing. A few euros of heating oil is worth it if the buyer falls in love.
Let there be light
I don’t think it is necessary to turn on all of your lights, avoid main lights if you can, but strategically placed table lamps, corner standard lamps, and even feature lamps are worth getting around your home, especially if the viewing is on a dull day. It makes such a difference to the cosy feel. If you have under-cupboard lights in your kitchen, or in display cabinets, turn these on.
Turn the TV off, it is distracting and you can guarantee there will be a news story on during the visit about an imminent crash in house prices.
Also it’s worth ensuring windows are sparkling clean, so important in winter as a source of natural light.
Dress your rooms
Make your rooms inviting, one oft forgotten room is the bathroom; so how about placing some nice shower gels, lotions, perfumes around the bath or shower, and hang some freshly laundered dressing gowns and towels in the bathroom. They usually smell wonderful if washed with fabric conditioner.
Beware of smells
It is actually a bad idea to spray air fresheners (or my pet hate, automatic spray thingies that go off every 10 minutes); same goes for perfume, don’t spray it around the house. Natural smells work so much better; its an old cliché I know but baking some biscuits or a cake is well worth it – don’t forget to offer some to the viewers (oh, and the agent) – and what about winter flowers to add some natural scent and also pine cones in a table feature?
I love dogs, and so do many viewing clients, but a wet dog in the winter is one of the most off putting smells to potential buyers. If you have a dog please take them for a walk or pop them in the car for a short time during the viewing. It makes such a difference and the clients aren’t buying your dog, they are there to fall in love with your house.
By following such simple tips, you’ll ensure your home is welcoming and appealing during the winter season. A homely midwinter home will tick all the right boxes, allowing your buyers to imagine themselves living there when the cold weather rolls around.