Winter doesn’t have to be a tough sell

Create a first impression that is warm and welcoming to help potential buyers feel more at home

A tidy yard and an inviting front door help welcome prospective buyers

A tidy yard and an inviting front door help welcome prospective buyers

Winter in Oak Bay – when the oak trees stand leafless and skies are more often coloured a dull grey than vibrant blue. Sound like a tough season to sell a home?

Not necessarily, says Newport Realty’s Jordy Harris.

In fact, homeowners can take advantage of a market with fewer listings at a time when prospective home buyers are still actively looking for their next dream home.

“Sometimes winter can be a great time to sell a house because you stand out for a lack of inventory,” he explains.

The trick, says Harris, a realtor since 2008 who grew up in Oak Bay, is to create first impressions inside and out that says warm, welcoming and well-kept.

“Those first impressions are definitely important this time of year as you want your home to stand apart from the rest.”

It all starts with the first drive-by.

Be sure to have all the leaves cleaned up, the grass mowed and plants looking tidy – not only does this suggest a home that has been well-maintained, but also one that won’t bring mountains of maintenance for the new homeowners.

“It really makes a difference. Having the yard looking good also suggests that it’s easy to care for,” Harris notes.

Moving up the front path, add a wreath or winter planter to the front door and porch to further invite buyers into the home.

“Once you’re inside, you really want to make the home seem warm and inviting, almost a refuge from the weather outside.”

Before a showing, turn on all the lights, have the home warm and get the fireplace going – offer “comfort from the storm,” Harris suggests.

While decluttering is important, tasteful decorating can help the prospective buyers envision how they may use the space. “We want the buyers to see themselves comfortable here,” he says. “As long as it’s tasteful, that’s going to go a long way.”

And for homeowners unsure of their design skills, Oak Bay boasts a variety of professionals happy to share their knowledge of decluttering, staging and interior design.

You don’t want to forget the basics, like ensuring the windows and floors are clean, the clutter is packed up, the air inside is fresh, but spending a few more minutes on those extras – a cheerful wreath or new welcome mat, for example – can help your home stand apart from the rest, no matter what the season.