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Selling and Buying Real Estate In Winter

black_outIf you got out of bed in Portland or the surrounding area this morning it appears that our summer/fall-like weather is gone.  There are more Facebook status updates about today’s weather than Obama got for winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

The image on the left is an illustration of the first thing a buyer sees walking into a house an hour after sunset if there are no lights on.  This isn’t the first impression you are looking for as  a seller.  Coupled with rain and cold your potential buyer wants to see their future home not a dungeon.

I’m not suggesting that the house has to be floodlight 24/7 but there is a happy point where everyone can find their way in the door safely and feel invited.  If the house is vacant, maybe it is a couple of lights on a timer until 8PM  or motion sensor.  If you have advanced notice of a showing, I would turn ever light on that you can, or ask your neighbor to do it for you.

The same can be said for heat.  Technology has reduced the number of showings that properties get.  By the time the buyer walks in the door, they often know as much or more about the property than the seller does.  You want them to linger and they are not going to do that if they can see their breath and it is warmer outside than in.  Again, the house doesn’t need to be heated to 72 all day but taking the edge off is a good idea.  What costs more, a month of moderate heating bills or a mortgage payment?

As a buyer wearing easy to remove shoes is a great idea.  No one wants to track the great outdoors in (and no one wants to stand on 40 degree tile floors).  The overall theory remains the same, you want your property to put its best foot forward when it is being show.  Landscaping and immediate curb appeal take more of a back seat but other things become more important.

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