REAL ESTATE: How to stage a snowy exterior

Winter home staging

How to best dress the exterior of your house to “wow” potential buyers during the white and cold wintery months is a challenge but also can be a lot of fun for the whole family.

You should not overlook your exterior as a great place to showcase a lifestyle your home can provide even if it was not used that way by you. Staging or showcasing is marketing. Every home can be a winter wonderland to show potential buyers that they can have it too. Show off the areas around the house namely the back, front and side yards with hints of lifestyle potential.

Start by clearing away snow in larger areas, not just a small walking path but clear the deck and areas where two people can walk beside each other. Pathways can lead to inviting destinations like a sitting area surrounding a portable fire place or under a nice pergola. Even if you have your metal canopy frame still up from the hotter months it does provide architecture and looks interesting with snow on it.

Add bird feeders and attractions for squirrels to your yard. Light these destinations with patio lights during out long dark days. Yes, hanging white Christmas lights on a pergola is great but don’t have the house trimmed with Christmas lights; those should be off now. Flood lights work really well to highlight a beautiful tree in the back yard or pointing to that destination area after dark.

Create glimpses of what your location has available nearby. Do you have access to skiing or a toboggan area? Skis against a wall of the house or by a back or side door, or a beautiful wooden toboggan leaned up against the deck are great ideas to convey this lifestyle and local attractions. These subtle visions create emotional responses or triggers. Have benches or Adirondack chairs around the portable fire place. The first thing potential buyers will think is that it is an added bonus for the property to have all that area usable during the cold months.

Add some whimsy! I’ve seen pictures of winter clothing stuffed with snow and think it is brilliant! And what fun that would be to make!

For the front, keep it very simple. Clear walking paths to the front door, two people wide with nice neat edges are aesthetically pleasing. How about a snow man strategically placed on the front lawn? Light it up for the dark evenings. A new and larger exterior door mat for each of your entries is a great touch. A wintery wreath for the front door is great but don’t hang onto that Christmas one as its time is over now. I’d hide away any shovels and salt bags as they aren’t so nice to have greet visitors at the door.

Other must dos:

  • At dusk, turn on the exterior lights and keep them on until midnight. Potential buyers will drive by to scout things out until late into the evening; you want your house to be seen easily and to stand out from the others.
  • Re-photograph your exterior pictures as the season changes. If you had pictures taken at Christmas time for marketing purposes, it’s time to refresh those with new ones after creating this new environment.  Don’t skip this, it’s very important.
  • After shovelling steps, etc. take a stiff-bristled broom to the surfaces as this will uncover the beauty of your walkway and entrance.  These are all selling features and worth working to your advantage especially during our snowy times!
  • Clean and neatly shovelled driveways are a must.  Make it so that it is easy to drive and walk on and not a slushy mess.  Can visitors walk by a parked car easily?  We don’t want it to be difficult. Nice, clear and clean looking is key.

Finally, walk around the neighbourhood and seek out ideas and judge your curb appeal against others. Look at your house from across the street and from both the left and the right sides. Are your lights bright enough? What if you put the upper interior lights on? Ask these questions, be objective and know that this stuff works when you are selling your biggest asset.

Kim Dingwall, aka The Stittsville Stager, can be reached at 613-862-7585 and




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