Selling a Home in Winter: 6 Ways to Add Curb Appeal

Selling a Home in Winter: 6 Ways to Add Curb Appeal

Posted on Nov 29, 2022

It’s time to sell your home, but here’s the problem: it’s winter, so you can't just water the grass to optimum greenness, or plant a ton of flowers for a pop of color.

But improving curb appeal is important when you’re competing against other sellers for a limited number of qualified buyers. According to SF Gate, curb appeal increases a home’s selling price: a well-landscaped house will sell for 5.5% to 12.7% more than one without landscaping. This is a significant price advantage. 

“Photos are normally what entice people and draw them in, so having something that is appealing upfront gets you that buzz for your house - that’s why curb appeal is important,” explains Philadelphia-based Realtor Chad Eason. 

What can you do to make your home stand out in the cold - without spending a lot of money? Here’s what you can try.

Freshly Painted Door

First impressions are truly everything - especially when you’re approaching a home. And the door is often the focal point of the house.

For its Paint Color Analysis, Zillow analyzed over 135,000 photos from sold listings around the country. What they found was that simply painting your door black increased the price of a typical U.S. home by 2.9%. This is likely because a black door next to white siding creates sharp contrast, which can read as both fresh and modern. 

If black doesn’t match your home, don’t despair - red, yellow, and even pastels can be a great fit and give your home a fresh look, eliminating some of the accumulated smudges and smears that have developed over time.

“Painting is probably the tried and true best bang for your buck. Putting a fresh coat of paint on things goes a long way,” says Chad.

A newly-painted door can add eye-catching contrast

Potted Pine Trees 

In colder regions, landscaping is a no-go in winter: most bushes need a soil temperature of at least 50°F in order to survive planting. But that doesn't mean you're out of luck.

Evergreens aren’t just for the holidays - they’re a great way to add color to your front porch. Use pots that double as ornamentation (rather than cheap, plastic pots that may serve as visual detractions). 

“Pots are easy things to add, and mind you, they are not fixtures so you get to keep them. You just need to keep a plant alive for a couple of months, not years,” notes Chad.


New Address Numbers, Fresh Mailbox

One of the first things buyers notice when looking for your home is, logically, the address numbers - and the mailbox. If your mailbox is old and rusty or the wooden post is starting to rot, upgrade for a fresh and clean look. Similarly, large numbers in bronze or black stainless steel can make your home easy to locate while also creating an eye-catching focal point. 

Home buyers are looking for signs that the house is in good condition. New and well-maintained features tend to positively reinforce the impression that the rest of the home is in good condition. Conversely, if the first thing a buyer sees when they arrive to the house is a rusty nail in place of a missing house number, they may wonder how representative this is of the house’s overall condition.

New numbers are an easy way to add curb appeal to your front porch, while a fresh mailbox adds appeal to the end of driveway area.


Warm Lighting 

In winter, sunset often occurs around 5pm - often earlier than when buyers will come to view your home. “Typically it’s gray or overcast or just cold this time of year - all the trees are bare and nothing is blooming and everything seems dead and no one likes it, that seems cold and unappealing,” says Chad.

Rather than having them walk up a dark and shadowed pathway, accent the way with warm lighting. Lights illuminating pathways, as well as spotlights that help highlight your home’s features, can add perceived value to your home - and ensure that it looks inviting from the first glance. 

You can opt for small pathway lights, lantern lights, or rope lights to illuminate the sidewalk, while landscape lights help to illuminate the house itself. You can decorate with Christmas lights once the holidays hit, but keep in mind that simple is best when it comes to decor - use small white lights to highlight your home or landscape, and keep the giant blow-up Santa in his box this year.


Festive Touches (around the Holidays)

It’s hard to discuss winter curb appeal ideas without talking about holiday decorations. Chad points out that holiday decorations can help make a home appear liveable and ready for a future family - rather than dark, empty and cold.

“If you think about hallmark movies, the reason they still make them is that people have sentimental feelings attached to them. Same with a house - if you sell a vacant house in the wintertime when nobody’s there and you’re going to be moving your family, no one is excited to see photos of a drab, empty house with a drab background,” he explains.

Holiday spirit doesn’t necessitate running up your electrical bill with thousands of lights. It can be as simple as electric candles in the windows for warmth, or a cheery, holiday-themed door mat. Evergreen garlands with ornaments can also be used to adorn the door. 

“Be festive. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas or whatever it might be, get the garlands, lights if you like doing them. Put up a wreath, try to bring in those bright, vivid reds, etc. so people will stop and notice,” recommends Chad.

Prune and Shear Your Bushes

In the spring and summer, trees and shrubs grow quickly - but by winter they’re dormant. This is a great time to have your plants pruned, which helps create the appearance of a well-maintained house. 

It’s possible to prune your shrubbery yourself, but in order to maintain a healthy landscape it’s important to learn the basics first. Being able to identify the different parts of the plan and holding the sheers at the correct angle, for example. 

For more information, read up on this Introduction to Pruning released by the state of Connecticut’s agricultural lab.

Winter Curb Appeal Can be Part of a Broader Sell Strategy

Let's face it: the market isn't what it was a year ago. Sellers now need to compete for buyer attention, especially in the slower winter months when the holidays are a constant distraction.

Improving your home's curb appeal can help your home sell faster and for more money. Better online photos will lead to more clicks, and more clicks can lead to more showings. 

"As the market transitions, these tried and true methods for selling a home become more important," explains Chad. "We came out of a season where anything sold - so long as it had four walls and a roof, it got bought. But that's over. So in that sense that’s what makes it important, you can show that you care and love where you live and have enjoyed it." 

Want to chat about selling a home in winter with an experienced agent?

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Selling a Home in Winter: For Further Reading

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