FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. - Homeowners trying to sell a property during the winter should be aware that even though snow is on the ground there are things they can do to help make that sale before spring.
Lonnie Shapiro, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Ridgefield, said the first thing winter sellers should check is their homeowners liability insurance. Slips and falls can happen in any season, but homeowners are more vulnerable in the winter.
Sellers, especially if they are not living in the home, should arrange to keep the driveway and walkways free of snow and ice, she said. If the house is vacant it should be winterized. That means the heat can still be on, but any pipes that contain water will be spared from freezing and then bursting once the heat comes back on.
Shapiro believes the winter is a great time to have your home on the market. According to Shapiro, traditionally, many homeowners take their homes off the market starting in mid-November and don't put them back on until February or so. However, if you come on the market in the very beginning of January or even at the end of December, you will be filling a void as competition significantly reduces and sellers can sometimes reap the benefits of a higher price.
Shapiro also hires a professional to photograph homes for her listings, since she said good pictures are especially important because of the internet.
Although winter photos of the house nestled in snow may look appealing, she said, homeowners should also take pictures during the other seasons to give a fair representation of the property.
"Your home has it's first showing on the internet, therefore you need to make a great impression at that time," Shapiro said.
Shapiro explained that the multiple listing service can accommodate up to 25 photos of a home, so it's important to have as many as possible, filling up the spots. If sellers run out of home photos, they can also post pictures of their community or neighborhood amenities.
Photos from spring, summer and fall look good all year, Shapiro said. But she added that winter photos used in any season other than winter can make the house look like it has been on the market a long time.
"Buyers feel your vibe in the house, so make it a good one," Shapiro said. “Keep the house looking happy and pretty."
For more information, contact Lonnie Shapiro at 203-731-7722, or visit www.ridgefieldhouses.com.