Written By Susan Massa Broker CRS SRES ABR Keller Williams Premier Properties. Contact her at 908-400-0778 Visit her websites at www.NJHomeshowcase.com, www.SusanMassa.com and www.summitwestfieldhomes.com.

So you thought we were going to coast thru the winter but Mother Nature has given us a little blizzard. So Now what. Winter can be a harsh, uninviting and unappealing time to sell your home. With 2018-2019 just about to gear up, it's especially important to make your home welcoming and easily accessible if you want to sell in 2018-2019 New Year.

I have some essential tips that will make your home stand out as this year begins:

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1. Let’s start with warmth:

Entering a cold home is unpleasant and can seem to feel colder than the outside temperature. Your home should be warm and inviting when a realtor conducts a walkthrough with buyers. You really want the Buyers to linger imagining they living in the home... If you have a programmable thermostat make sure it’s set to a time that most buyers will be looking at your home so it's warm when they arrive. Check your vents and or radiators that there are no problems that would impede the distribution of heat as this could make rooms cold during a showing.

2. How Bright is the House? “Let there be light”

Walking into a dark room can be a little intimidating it’s important to ensure that your home is adequately lit in each room. Remember this is the first time the buyers have walked thru the home and are unsure of the flow and steps of the house. Buyers need to feel welcome as well as being impressed with all your amenities like the kitchen, Living room, Family Room baths and bedrooms of your home. If a room has dimly lit or there is a burned-out bulb, it could take away from the overall appeal of the room. Put lights on timers for each room; change that bulb that has burned out. You may want to consider spending a little extra money to upgrade your lighting fixtures, maybe upgrading to installing recessed lighting in certain rooms that will surely give your home a more interesting and added value appeal. Don’t discount Standing floor lamps; they are a wonderful, affordable alternative to lighting rooms with a modest investment.

3. Though its winter landscaping can be appealing.

This time of year all is dormant and there is a lack of color but there are ways to give that yard a little sprucing. You’ve walked by that broken branch many times, well now it’s time to clear the yard. Clear your yard of any broken branches or those piles and patches of fallen leaves that have accumulated by the wind...  Snow is bound to come so make sure your drive and all walkways are free of ice and snow. If the home has a great deck or patio takes the extra time to remove as much as you can. The added extension to the backyard will surely impress as will being able to view the backyard from the deck or patio. If you have always done the snow removal yourself but find that you have a problem with time my advice hire a snow removal service to keep your home safe for all.

4. Cozy is King in Winter

When it comes to winter there is always one word that comes up. COZY:  enjoying or affording warmth and ease--- a snug pleasant feeling of joy. We think of a lush sofa with a beautiful throw blanket and a cup of steaming homemade soup. Other than providing your home a well-lit and warm environment there are extended ways to welcome buyers. Our senses are important. Putting music on at a low level whether its smooth jazz or classical is music to their ears. That sense of smell that takes you to yummy places in your mind. The aroma of baked apple pie or cinnamon buns, spice or chocolate chip cookies, or any spice aromas will create a hug and goodness. If you can’t bake or have time to get one from the grocery store or a little cinnamon in heated water, microwave helps here. When offering cozy setting buyers will feel at home they will want to spend more time in the home admiring your amenities and features that can translate to a buyer knowing you have maintained and loved this home. They even may want to stay for dinner.

5. Make it feel festive

When buyers come to your home let’s make them feel as if they are invited guests, Set your Dining table with your good china and linens. You know, the china and linens you only take out on special occasions, well this is one occasion you should use them. Set the table make it lovely. Reflect all the entertaining possibilities. But don’t stop there Lets take the family room where all view movies or sport event parties take place let make it look comfortable, small touches – like a throw blanket or afghan on a sofa– can add to the festivities. In the kitchen leave small snacks cookies, small water bottles or cider out for those who have spent their precious time to view your home.

6. Use winter to your advantage

Winter can be a great selling point. Focus on the location to that great neighborhood snow sledding hill down the street. The popular park where there is ice skating sledding. Snowshoeing. The distance to schools train’s buses, downtown shopping highways and a ski resort is a plus.

Favorite Recipe For You: Pumpkin Cake with Maple Frosting

If you don’t feel like making a pie, a pumpkin cake is a great treat for the family.  This recipe is easy and oh so rewarding.

  • 1 can organic canned pumpkin or pumpkin pie mix
  • 3 cups Flour 1 tablespoon Baking powder 2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 teaspoon Pumpkin pie spice (omit if using pie mix) 1 teaspoon Salt 4 Eggs 1 cup Sugar 1 cup Light brown sugar; packed
  • 1 cup Oil
  • Maple Frosting:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A drizzle of maple syrup

Directions

Sift the flour, baking powder, soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt together; set aside. Beat the eggs until fluffy; add the sugars. Beat until very thick. Stir in the pumpkin and oil, until smooth. Blend flour mixture thoroughly into the creamed mixture. Pour into a greased and floured 10" tube pan. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for about one hour or until cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth. Stir in the maple syrup and vanilla extract. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the confectioners' mix until smooth.