The fall/winter selling season has its challenges: lower housing inventory, shorter days, inclement weather, fewer buyers and curb appeal that’s not at its most appealing—just to name a few. However, it does have some advantages, such as motivated buyers and sellers, potentially faster loan processing and less competition for moving companies, appraisers and other move-related services. Below are a few tips to help you make the most of your valuable cold-weather client appointments and achieve your sales goals before the year ends.
If you’re the seller’s agent…
- Safety first! Make sure your clients have cleared all walkways of ice, snow and other debris. Use doormats to protect the floors from the extra traffic and to prevent slick spots. Nothing makes a worse first impression than a slip-and-fall injury.
- Create an inviting entry. Ask your clients to declutter the foyer and provide empty coat hooks for buyers to use when they arrive. The more comfortable and welcomed the feel, the better.
- Light it up. The dark days of fall and winter can dim a buyer’s enthusiasm. Encourage your sellers to invest in exterior and interior lighting to help fight the gloom.
- Tame the seasonal décor. A tasteful wreath, seasonal potpourri, neutral twinkle lights or fall/winter-toned throws and pillows are probably as festive as your clients should get around the holidays. Help them showcase cozy elements, like a fireplace, but perhaps suggest they save the inflatable yard Santa for their next home.
- Don’t slack off on the landscaping. Remind your clients that yardwork is even more important during the fall and winter, when lawns don’t naturally look their best. Raking leaves, mulching and adding cool-season bedding plants can help improve that flagging curb appeal.
If you’re the buyer’s agent…
- Tack on some travel time. Of course, you never want to keep your client waiting when meeting up for a showing, but it’s especially important to be prompt when the weather is uncomfortable. Give yourself plenty of time to get there and have the door unlocked so they aren’t standing in the cold.
- Provide clear directions. If you’re showing homes in the evenings, you’re probably showing them in the dark. Make sure your clients have the right address and any directions they need to find the place, so they won’t be wandering around in the dark and/or snow.
- Arrange the best parking you can. Having your clients step out of their car and into a puddle, snow drift or ice sheet could be avoidable with some forethought.
- Be generous with creature comforts. Find out your clients’ hot beverage preferences and offer to bring some along. Keep some disposable hand warmers in the car for clients who’ve forgotten their gloves. Little gestures remind your clients that you’re looking out for them.
- Draw attention to the home’s winter fitness. People are quick to notice flaws like drafty windows, poor drainage and furnace odors, but they might take the lack of these problems for granted. If the home is a comfortable temperature from room to room, if it has convenient features like a multi-zone thermostat, or if the windows are well insulated, you might consider calling them out.
Don’t forget! New homes are a great option for buyers year round. Our models are always warm and inviting, many spec homes may close in as soon as 45 days, and clients don’t have to add the stress of a bidding war to an already-hectic holiday season.