<b>4 tips for preparing your house for winter showings</b>

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t dazzle potential home-buyers. As long as you focus on what winter-month shoppers are looking for, you can be just as successful selling your house in the winter as any other time of the year. Here are a few tips on how to maximize your house’s selling potential for a cold-weather showing.

1. Tidy up entryways and bust out the rake or shovel: Cleaning your interiors and exteriors can be more important in winter than in the warmer months. This is a time of year when entryways can become cluttered by a collection of hats, gloves, coats and boots. Find room in a closet for those items, or at the very least ensure they are put away before a showing. Outside, walkways and driveways covered in leaves or snow can give a bad first impression. Blow or rake the last of those leaves away from the sidewalk, and when it snows, shovel enough spots for visitors to park and walk to your front door without needing boots. Now is not the time to go light on the salt – the last thing you want is someone slipping on ice as they approach your house.

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2. Highlight warmth and light: Don't let the winter grays ruin a perfectly good showing or open house. To combat the dull skies, decorate your house with mirrors and turn on all the lights, even for a daytime showing. You might want to consider trying out different types of light bulbs to bring out the right hues in each room. Feel free to place some throws around your living spaces, just as long as they don't give the appearance of clutter. Keep the heat on and the boots out of sight. Oh, and baking cookies and offering hot chocolate or apple cider never hurts, either.

3. Be ready for winter-focused walk-throughs: Without the shadows of trees on your windows, they will show absolutely everything. Make sure you scrub away any dirt, smudges, fingerprints, and streaks from the glass. Be prepared for visitors to take a look at pipes under sinks, thermostats, furnaces, and other winter-season features. Change out your HVAC filter to get rid of smells and allergens that build up. (A clean filter will help your furnace function better, too.) Only light a fire in the fireplace if it won't turn your living room into a smoky mess.

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4. Avoid over-decorating: Winter is a time for gatherings and family, and while prospective homebuyers typically like to see some seasonal decorations, avoid going overkill with lawn decorations that hide the house or a collection of decorative lights that can be seen from space. Since everybody's nose is different, avoid air-freshening sprays and only burn lightly scented candles. A new, unlit candle in the bathroom can be enough to hint at a comforting smell without overpowering the senses.

For more tips on getting your home ready for winter buyers, or if you have any questions about your local real estate market, make sure you contact your neighborhood Coldwell Banker Heritage Realtors for the best advice around.