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Preparing Your Home For Sale In Winter

Preparing your home for sale is always a time consuming project. Here's a few tips to help you get everything going during the winter time.

1. Have a cozy, crackling fire (or not).

If you have a gas fireplace go ahead and light a fire to welcome visitors. But if your home's wood-burning fireplace is older and leaves a smoky smell in the room, hold off. Those with allergies or smoke sensitivities can be turned off — or literally turned away when they have to go outside. No fire? Consider offering warm apple cider instead.

2. Keep entryways scrupulously clean.

As with any time of year, a clean and clutter-free house will sell more easily (and maybe at a higher price) than one with more visible clutter. During winter it is especially important to remove mucky boots outside and keep family gear hidden in a closet or trunk, where potential buyers won't trip over them. A Swiffer-style mop kept in the coat closet can be used to quickly freshen entry floors before each showing.

3. Give each room a warm touch.

A folded throw draped over the back of an armchair, a plump quilt at the foot of the bed or an area rug in warm hues are a few small additions that will make a big difference in the way a room feels to prospective buyers. Also, be sure that every light is on — even for daytime showings. Winter days can be quite dim, and your house will look its best when it's as warmly lit as possible.

4. Show how outdoor rooms can be used even in the coldest months.

If you have a covered porch or outdoor fireplace, be sure to keep the area fully furnished. Turn on outdoor lights, build a fire in the fireplace and drape a few thick throws over your outdoor furniture.

5. Emphasize spaces that will appeal in winter.

Basement playrooms, indoor exercise areas, heated toolsheds and the like will be especially welcome in a place with a cold winter. Remove all unrelated stuff to make the purpose of the room clear, and be sure to have your Realtor bring it up when showing the house to potential buyers.

6. Showcase the entertaining possibilities of your home.

Winter is prime time for festive parties and holiday open houses, so whet prospective buyers' appetites with an enticing display. Set out stacks of plates and fresh flowers on a dining room buffet or display holiday cookies on cake stands in the kitchen.

7. Use structural elements in the garden for winter interest.

In the middle of winter, it can be hard to visualize a blooming garden. Large urns and planters, benches, rock walls and other garden structures will help buyers see the potential even in the snow.

8. Clear all exterior pathways of snow and ice.

Nothing will turn away potential buyers faster than a treacherously icy path. Open-house guests should be able to easily walk all the way around the house and access outbuildings. Provide as much off-street (snow-cleared) parking as you can to make things easy for visitors.

9. Do decorate for the holidays. 

Buyers want to be able to envision living in your home, so it pays to make that vision as inviting as possible. Festive twinkling lights, green wreaths or topiary, and a decorated tree near Christmas will strike the right note. That doesn't mean you have to go overboard — in fact, a house overly cluttered with holiday decor can be a real turnoff.

Mortgage News Daily

  • Permit to Completion - Builder Timeline Depends on Where and Why

    Posted To: MND NewsWire

    Despite complaints about labor, lot, and material shortages, builders needed no more time to build a home last year than they did in 2016. The time did increase compared to 2015 by about two weeks. Using data from the Census Bureau's Survey of Construction (SOC), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) concludes that the average time to build a single-family house was 7.5 months. The actual building time was about 6.5 months following a typical delay of around 30 days after the permit was authorized. Data from the 2015 survey showed the time from permit to completion at 7 months. The range however is wide, from less than a month to more than 6 years. Much depends on who is building the house, for what purpose, and where. , writing in NAHB's Eye on Housing Blog, says that houses built...(read more)

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  • MBS RECAP: Bonds Gain Despite Data Surprise and Stock Rally

    Posted To: MBS Commentary

    Before any discussion about market movement in July, we have to set the stage with some disclaimer about "slow summertime trading." That was the subject of this morning's commentary ( read it here , if you like). With that out of the way, we're equipped to pay the appropriate amount of attention to today's seemingly interesting events. First up, we had a reasonably strong move in European bonds overnight help set a mildly positive tone for the start of domestic trading. The biggest volume spike of the early morning came at 8:30am in response to the Import Price data, which came in much lower than expected. Bond yields/prices, themselves, only moved a bit, however--a fact that likely reflects the nearness of yields to the lower end of their prevailing range. The other notable...(read more)

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  • Lowest Rates Since May, But There's a Catch

    Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

    Mortgage rates fell by an observable amount today-- one of the few times they've done so in recent weeks. Technically, today's average lender is offering the best we've seen since May 31st. That sounds pretty great, right?! Unfortunately, there's a fairly big catch. While today's rates are indeed the best in a month and a half, the range during that time has been so excruciatingly narrow that most prospective mortgage borrowers will find the distinction fairly meaningless. In almost all cases, the actual NOTE rate at the top of your loan quote will be the same as it has been for weeks. The only change in lenders' rate sheets is in the upfront cost associated with that rate. In other words, if you'd seen a quote of 4.75% with 0 points yesterday, today's quote would be more like 4.75% with a...(read more)

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  • MBS Day Ahead: Get Used to Coconuts, Probably

    Posted To: MBS Commentary

    I know I made a Looney Tunes reference last week, but another one is in order. For those that aren't familiar, Yosemite Sam is stranded on a desert island and sits down to a smorgasbord of coconuts, prepared in various ways: "tossed coconut salad, fresh coconut milk, New England boiled coconut," he says, feigning excitement just before breaking down and proclaiming "oooh I hate coconuts!!!!" Yosemite Sam's coconut menu plan is akin to trying to find a way to make something new and interesting out of summertime bond market movement. The fact is that at some point in June or July, almost every year, bonds end up either pausing or reversing, and volumes generally begin declining in July, finally bottoming out in September, almost like clockwork. In the chart above,...(read more)

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  • Construction, Warehouse Products; Free LO Comp Webinar; Shifting UW Criteria

    Posted To: Pipeline Press

    Events and Training Don't miss out on the Lenders One 2018 Summer Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, August 5-8, at The Grand America. In an age of disruption, it's never been more important to learn from peers and industry leaders. Keynote speakers Alison Levine and David Robertson will share ways to get ahead in a tough market, and attendees will be able to select from 16 curated education sessions led by industry experts. Topics include: improving margins, generating business through MarTech, rethinking your compliance strategy and five Secondary Market panels. Touted as the most valuable part of conference, Lenders One has expanded networking opportunities for members to connect with peers and explore best practices. Reserve your spot by this Friday, July 13, or contact Lauren Ketchum...(read more)

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  • Mortgage Rates Still Can't Find Inspiration

    Posted To: Mortgage Rate Watch

    Mortgage rates stood a very decent chance to experience the highest volatility of the week today thanks to the most important economic data of the week being released this morning. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is the most widely-followed inflation metric in the U.S. and inflation is a big deal for the bonds that underlie rates (including mortgages). On numerous occasions over the past 2 years, we've witnessed clear connections between variations in CPI data and subsequent volatility in rates. But not today... The biggest issue today was that CPI ended up being pretty boring. In other words, the actual numbers were very close to the forecast. Bonds (and thus, interest rates) didn't have much of a reaction. Even then, we may well wonder how big of a reaction we would have seen if the data was...(read more)

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  • MBS RECAP: Bonds Hold Steady Despite Big Ticket Events

    Posted To: MBS Commentary

    Welcome to summertime in the bond market, where each day is narrower than the last! The same can be said for the past 2 weeks and the past several months, for that matter. By a wide margin, the 3-day trading range surrounding the apex of the Italian political drama easily contains every minute of trading since then. To put that in perspective, that 3-day range was 2.78-3.01% in 10yr yields. Today's range was 2.84-2.87%. The only interesting thing that can be said for bonds during that time is that they've generally moved lower in yield and generally been willing to remain near those lows. Today didn't do anything to change the summertime tone. We even had the week's most anticipated economic data (at least for the bond market) in the form of CPI. Unfortunately for those hoping...(read more)

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  • Inflation Data Shows Deceleration in Housing Costs

    Posted To: MND NewsWire

    While the Labor Department's Employment Situation Report for June showed wages plodding along at a 2.7 percent annual increase, unchanged from May, it is still being outstripped by rising costs, especially for housing. Today's Consumer Price Index (CPI) report shows consumer costs overall were up 2.9 percent with the shelter portion rising 3.4 percent over the last 12 months. Shelter is one of the categories in the CPI's "market basket," the goods and services that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) considers necessary for day-to-day living. The CPI does not include housing units which it views as capital or investment rather than consumption items. Shelter is viewed as a "service" provided by that investment and is thus a consumption item. The cost of shelter is broken down into two components...(read more)

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  • New Home Sales Need More Trees and Contractors

    Posted To: MND NewsWire

    The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is projecting a decline in new home sales for June, putting them significantly behind those in June 2017. MBA's Builder Applications Survey (BAS) shows mortgage applications for the purchase of newly constructed homes were down 12 percent from May and 8.8 percent year-over-year. The survey's results are not adjusted to reflect seasonal patterns. "Applications for new home purchases fell in June, both compared to last year at this time and relative to May, which fits the seasonal pattern. So far this year, new home applications are up 2.5 percent relative to the first 6 months of 2017. Our sense is that builders remain constrained by the tight job market for construction labor and rising input costs, particularly lumber costs ," said Mike Fratantoni, MBA...(read more)

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  • Full Radio Interview With Fed Chair Powell

    Posted To: MBS Commentary

    In a fairly rare turn of events, Fed Chair Powell gave a rather lengthy radio interview with Marketplace's Kai Ryssdal. Here's a rather lengthy transcript. Note: This is far from "required reading" given that there's been essentially no market reaction, but it is nonetheless useful insight for those who like to dissect every communication from the Fed Chair (not a bad habit for anyone who cares about big picture market themes. Dissecting all of Bernanke's communications helped us get ahead of what was happening during the taper tantrum, for instance). Here's the interview: Kai Ryssdal : So this is a weird way to start this interview. But the thing is that Fed chairmen don't do a whole lot of interviews. And this is, I think your first broadcast interview, right...(read more)

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Bonnie Koff  |  Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker  |  William Raveis Legends Realty Group  | Tarrytown Office 
914-332-6300  |  37 Main Street, Tarrytown, New York 10591  |  Email