french press on table

Can't go wrong with coffee: Focus on making your home warm and inviting for buyers who have trekked through winter weather to visit your open house.


When buyers brave the winter weather to view your house, it’s the seller’s responsibility to make sure they’re comfortable and taken care of.

It’s wet, it’s cold, and knowing that you have to bundle up in boots, coats, and scarves to go outside keeps many people from wanting to do routine tasks such as grocery shopping, much less trek out to see homes for sale in Boston, MA, or even Atlanta, GA. But while the winter season is understandably slower for open house events and private showings, when buyers do show up at your open house, it’s crucial that you make their tour pleasant and worthwhile.

Whether you’re showing your house to multiple buyers or a private family, here are eight tips to draw people to your home and ace your cold-weather open house.

Get them inside without a slip

If there is any snow on the ground, pick up that shovel and start plowing. You want to make sure all the walkways from the street to your front door are completely cleared of snow. Make sure to de-ice as well. Nothing ruins a home tour experience for a buyer like a slip-and-slide into a snow mound on their way in.

Create a landing area

If you have an outdoor front porch, make sure it is cleared of snow and ice and kept as dry as possible. If guests enter directly into the house, make sure you have a rug or mat by the door so they can wipe their feet. Once inside, have an umbrella stand for those wet umbrellas, and a coat rack to hang bulky winter gear. You can also purchase some shoe covers so guests can cover their wet boot soles. Bonus: Your potential buyer will be thankful you took precautions to keep stains off their future carpet!

Make your house cozy and inviting

Make sure the heat is on and the house is just the right temperature during the event. The front door will be opening and closing, so you will want to allow for that continuing loss of heat. But don’t forget that people will have on heavy clothes and be walking around — don’t crank up the heat and make things too cozy.

Find the light

Winter brings shorter days and cloudy weather, so it is extremely important that you bring in and turn on as much light as possible. Bright and airy is always more appealing to a buyer than dark and stuffy. Even though you may not be able to have the windows open, you can certainly make sure they are sparkling clean and that all the drapes are pulled back.

Depersonalize your home

Prior to any open house, take down pictures of your family, collectibles, and memorabilia — a difficult task to complete around the holidays. Buyers will want to visualize their lives in your home, so leave just enough furniture and decor to bring your home to life (this means your snowman figurine collection will probably have to be boxed up until after you sell). Start in one room and systematically go through every drawer, every closet, and every shelf and carefully edit out personal belongings.

Remove anything “polarizing”

While depersonalizing your home, remove any polarizing elements — anything religious or political. Most people have strong emotional reactions to religious artifacts and political mementos or statements, especially around the holidays. Don’t give your buyer a chance to prejudge your home because your political or religious beliefs are on display.

Send your pets on a holiday

This one is simple. You wouldn’t leave your uncle Frank sitting in a rocker in the living room while buyers wander through the house, so why would you leave your pets running rampant? After all, they’re family members too!

Give them a hot one

Remember that 40-cup coffee dispenser you got as a wedding present and never use? Now’s the time to pull it out and have a nice setup of hot coffee or apple cider for guests. It’s not a bad thing for your buyers to warm up and linger in the kitchen. In fact, it may help them envision having many future coffee moments in that kitchen.

What’s your plan to nail your winter open house? Let us know in the comments!