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Tips for Holding a House Inspection in Winter

By Alexandra Atkins

Holding a house inspection during winter has its challenges, but with a little planning and imagination, there’s no reason a cool weather open can’t be a success.

Just like at any other time of year, the key to making an open house in winter great is to present the property in the best possible light, meeting the market’s expectations of the location and price point. Being cold doesn’t change that basic principle.

In winter, vendors and agents should however pay extra attention to the weather predicted for the day of the open – so they can be ready for wet shoes and flustered buyers in the case of rain. Prepping the property with plenty of time is also important, to ensure any heating has time to kick in before buyers arrive.

A winter open is different to one in the warmer months on several fronts.

On a rainy winter’s day, wet shoes, dripping umbrellas and buyers hurrying through the front door are all to be expected and should be planned for. There is obviously less natural light in winter months too, so the timing of opens in key.

There are positives to selling in winter, though. What matters is how you deal with the season’s variables.

How to handle a house inspection in winter

It’s up to the agent and owners to work closely together to create a welcoming and warm environment for buyers, even if it’s a miserable day outside.

Our tips for handling an open in winter, which fall under the three following areas.

  1. Prepare for wet weather.
  2. Be winter savvy with presentation and styling.
  3. Never cancel an open…ever.

1. Tips for preparing for a wet weather open

Vendors and agents can use a number of strategies if it’s wet on the day of an open, including the following.

  • Ensure heaters have plenty of time to warm up the house before the open.
  • Provide an umbrella stand inside the front door.
  • Turn on every light in the property to maximise light
  • Ask buyers to remove their shoes or provide shoe coverings.
  • Provide a towel so buyers can wipe their shoes.

2. Tips for being winter savvy with presentation and styling

Presentation and styling are always important, but especially so in winter.

  • Consider painting walls white to maximise the light.
  • Ensure the grounds are maintained and manicured.
  • Consider cutting back trees and shrubs restricting the amount of light reaching inside.
  • Play music to ensure the house is still welcoming.
  • Burn candles inside to add light, a pleasant scent and ambience.
  • Don’t forget about outdoor entertaining areas; dress them as in summer, minus soft furnishings.
  • Ensure furniture in the house complements paint colours to maximise light.
  • Adds throws, rugs and pillows to beds and couches for a “cosy” feel.

3. Never cancel an opening…ever

While it may be tempting if the heavens open, never cancel an advertised open for inspection.

We simply never cancel an open for inspection. In fact, some of my busiest opens have been in pouring, pouring rain. And on a wet day, the people who turn up are the serious buyers; the ones who really want to look and potentially buy, not just people having a sticky beak, which can sometimes happen on a fine day.

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