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Heat Up Your Chances of Selling Your Home This Winter

Traditionally, Winter is thought to be the slowest time of year for home sales. This year may be different, but it is hard to predict.

There are hefty incentives from Uncle Sam to purchase before April 30, 2009, but the high rate of unemployment and rising interest rates may paralyze those who can qualify with fear and create a larger pool of those who don't qualify. Just in case buyer turn out is light, here are a few tips to help inspire the one's that do show up to take a look to make an offer.

As in any season, it is important to make sure the home is clean, free of clutter and de-personalized. Ensure that the outside entry to the house is cleared of snow, limbs and leaves so that nothing impedes their way in to view the property. Set out winter time plants or decorate tastefully for the holidays at the entrance to set a cheerful mood. Place a boot scraper and a welcome mat outside the door to encourage visitors to clean or remove their shoes in order to protect your floors. A coat rack will let them know it is alright to take off their jackets and get comfortable in the house. The longer they visit, the more easily they will be able to place themselves in the house as the owner.

Since Winter is the time to stay warm and cozy indoors, play up all of your indoor amenities instead of the deck and pool areas. Before leaving the house, consider lighting the gas fireplace. It will create a friendly glow to greet the potential buyer. Highlight this feature with a rug that begs to be laid down on and perhaps some large floor pillows. A game table nearby will illustrate how the space can be used to keep the family close and entertained. Folks are spending more time at home these days, so go the extra mile to make it seem like "the" place to be.

Bake cookies and mull cider and have some set out for the Realtor and their clients. They will stay longer if they are enjoying a snack and remember it as special, which is hard to do when viewing 10-15 homes in a day. Don't skimp on the heat. Keep it comfortable for the guests, not hot but warm enough to thaw them out after being out in the cold.

Go ahead and decorate for the holidays, but don't go crazy. Too many ornaments can have the same distracting effect as too many pictures of your family. However, striking the right balance can make the house seem even more charming.

Most importantly, HANG IN THERE! Winter sales do happen. Many Realtors have Christmas Eve closings every year. One benefit of being on the market during the holidays is that so many people pull theirs off and there is less competition! Buyers that have to find a place at this time of year are more likely to come take a look at everything available in their price range because there is usually less inventory to choose from.

Consult your local Realtor, keep your game face on and your cider mulling and before long you will be at the closing table just in time for the first thaw.


CJ Hodges is a Realtor with Beringer Realty Llc in Montgomery Al. She is a top producing agent affiliated with a national radio personality and his ELP ( endorsed local provider) program that assists home buyers and sellers make wise choices. Reach her by email [email protected], phone 334-233-5848 or find her on the web www.beringerrealty.net

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