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May 27, 2024
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Real Estate

Jim Valentine: Winter real estate

One of the benefits of living in Northern Nevada is that we enjoy four distinct seasons during the course of a year. We are now enjoying our winter season and all it brings.

The beautiful landscapes occasionally decorated with snow, and the mountain backdrops with their snow cover that will remain from now until the summer season. We love the snow as it means green to us Nevadans in the form of skiing income for our resorts and feed for our livestock in the summer.

Up close snow brings a few challenges such as slick roads, slippery walkways and wet footwear. When you have an appointment to show your listed home and there is snow on the ground… rejoice! Buyers that look in the inclement weather are much more serious than those that are simply fair weather “Looky Lous.” They are driving on the slick roads to get there.

Then they traipse through the snow to get to your front door and stomp their feet to clear their boots. Wrapped in winter clothing, they enter your warm house, and their cheeks begin to glow, their gloves come off and the heat begins to seep through the thick clothing and the chill begins to fade. All this while they are trying to take in the features of the home.

When they would normally think about furniture placement, their mind goes to thoughts of unzipping a jacket, unwrapping the muffler, etc. This is when they are challenged the most in the viewing, having to focus on what the home offers them and how it will work for them.

You can help this situation by scraping the walkway, so they have less traipsing getting to the front door. Have a mat or boot scraper at the front door so they can clear their boots. Don’t worry about a little snow remaining on their boots – it is just water after all.

If you want them to bend over and take their boots off with their heavy clothing on you will create a different viewing emotion right away. Let them go look at what’s important, the home you have for sale. Buyers more often than not will be very respectful of the circumstances and will stomp hard to clear the snow.

When viewing a home in the winter remember a few things that will affect your total understanding of the property. If there is snow about the property you won’t be able to see the grounds. Does the front yard have any landscaping or is it just dirt? The landscaping is dormant, are all the trees living?

Some sellers display photos of the property in other seasons for you to better understand the property. Leave things as you found them, i.e. – the bedroom doors open/closed, window coverings up/down, lights on/off, etc. Just like going through a gate in rural Nevada, leave it like you found it, open/closed.

Window coverings may be open for solar gain or closed to insulate. You may or may not live the same lifestyle as the seller, but you can learn things about the house by paying attention to how they live in it during the harsher weather months, summer and winter.

What are the utility bills like this time of year in this time of rising utility costs? How much wood do they burn and when did they last clean the chimney? If you can’t see everything about the property, make sure that you protect yourself with a clause that allows you to view and approve it when it is visible.

Remember that outside inspections can be affected, i.e. – roof is not walkable, septic inspection may be difficult and costly to find the lid because of the frozen ground, etc. Allow enough escrow time for things to get done, especially if you need conditions to change.

There are typically fewer showings this time of year, but those that are looking are serious. They usually aren’t “want” to buy buyers, rather “need” to buy buyers.

When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your Real Estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Gold Carson Valley, 775-781-3704. dpwtigers@hotmail.com.

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