Just because the weather right now makes us want to hibernate doesn’t mean the real estate market is sleeping. In fact, the waning months of the coldest season have become one of the most popular times for buyers to begin their home search.
That’s great news if you’re looking to sell your home this winter! But those buyers won’t give your place a second look if it appears sad and drab in listing photos. So how can you possibly pull off perfect pictures when Mother Nature is working against you?
We’ve got you covered! You can beat the winter blues and snap some seriously good photos of your home—you just have to know a few tricks of the trade. Read on for the secrets to showing your home in the best light this winter.
1. Wait as long as you have to for a sunny day
We know, there aren’t a lot of these in winter. But trust us when we say it’s worth waiting for the one day when the sun comes out. If you’re working with a photographer, then the pro probably has this whole blue sky thing on lockdown. But if you’re not, the best way to make people actually want to tour—and potentially buy—your house is to take photos on a day when the sun is shining.
“And preferably around noon,” says Benjamin Ross, a Realtor® with Mission Real Estate Group. “You don’t want dark spots overshadowing your beautiful home.”
Ross also recommends using a polarizing filter on your camera lens, since this will minimize any unwanted reflection or glare from the sun.
Planning on using your phone? Check out this polarizing filter for iPhone from Sandmarc.
Unless you’re shooting for a Windex ad, you’ll want to be sure your windows don’t appear streaked with condensation or dirt.
Pro tip: We recommend cranking the heat up to its max, to keep the little condensation drips at bay.
As for the dirt, you know what to do. “Many people forget, but be sure to clean your windows prior to shooting,” Ross says.
3. Use all the indoor light
Winter is a dark season in most climates, which is why you’ll want to combat that gloomy mood by using your home’s interior lighting to make outdoor pictures warm and inviting.
“Turn on all lights in the home when shooting,” says Ross. “Even in the daytime, turn on all the lights for more clarity in your images.”
Another tip for snagging buyer interest in winter? Putting those fireplaces to work.
“I like to highlight working fireplaces when at all possible,” says Daniele Kurzweil, real estate agent with the Compass Friedman Team. “Be it gas or wood-burning, a photo of a warm, inviting fire is sure to draw in a crowd during those cold and dark winter months. Highlight your strengths, and show buyers a warm, comfy nook where they can curl under a blanket by the fireplace.”
4. Shovel the snow, for goodness’ sake
No one expects your house to look picture-perfect in the middle of winter, but there are a few basics you can do to make it look its cold-weather best.
For starters, clear any excess snow that’s piling up. No one wants to be reminded of chores (like shoveling snow) when they view your house, so be sure walkways, driveways, porches, and outdoor seating areas are all cleaned off.
5. Stash any and all holiday decor
The holidays are over! Deal with it. Once the snow piles are under control, be sure to cut any lingering holiday decor out of the picture as well.
“If you take a photo with seasonal items, come spring or summer if your place hasn’t yet sold, people will immediately assume your listing has been on the market since the holidays, and move right past it,” Kurzweil says.
6. Hire a gardener
It’s amazing what a few hearty winter plants can do for your curb appeal. But rather than attempting a botanical experiment, consider hiring a professional to spruce up your winter garden just in time for the big day.
“If your garden looks lush in the spring, speak with a plant specialist who can help pick out beautiful hearty plants that will make your garden pop in the winter months,” says Kurzweil.
“Instead of shying away from the outdoors in the winter, showcase how your outside space is indeed usable throughout all four seasons,” she advises.
7. Include photos from other seasons
No matter how great your winter photos turn out, it’s important to allow buyers to visualize themselves in your home—and that means including pictures from other seasons. Be sure to focus on shots of your home’s best features, like that outdoor patio and the bench swing on the front porch.
“Show potential buyers how inviting your home is during the coldest of months,” says Kurzweil, “and they’ll be even more impressed come springtime.”