No question about it, getting a home to show well in the winter months in Southeast Alaska can be challenging.  Short, stormy days make it difficult to show the house in the daylight.  Wet walkways can make for muddy entryways.  The list goes on.  Whatever you do, don’t let the winter season discourage you.  Remember that this is the time of year when buyers are serious!  With a strategy in place, your home can show just as well in winter as in summer.  Here are a few ideas that will help:

  1. Do try to schedule showings during the daylight hours.  This can be tough since most people will be working during the day, but can be skirted by scheduling your showing for a weekend.

2. Don’t forget about curb appeal.  If it’s rainy out, make sure that your yard is as well-kept as you can make it.  If it’s snowing outside, keep the walkway to the front door clear of snow and ice at all times.  You don’t want a buyer to turn away before he or she even gets to the front door.

3. Good lighting is essential!  Make sure all the lights are on inside and out, and that the entire place is adequately lit.  You might even consider putting your lights on a timer.  While you’re at it, pull back the curtains and blinds on every window in the house to let in as much light as possible.  Not only will this keep it bright, it’ll prevent buyers from having to search around for the light switch.

4. Keeping a clean house will be more challenging in the winter months, so keep on top of it!  Place a rug in the entryway for muddy shoes.  Wash the windows, vacuum the carpets, and polish the fixtures.  You get the point.  A clean house is an inviting house.

5. A word about pets—wet dogs smell like, well, wet dogs.  No one wants to walk into a home that smells like a wet dog, not even the people who own them!  If you do have pets, make sure you deal with any odors that might come along with them before your house is scheduled to be shown.

6. Take advantage of the season to stage your house in a way that conveys a cozy impression.  Consider a bouquet of winter flowers.  If you have a fireplace, make sure there’s a fire in it for showings (don’t leave it unattended for too long!).  A wreath and a few well-placed twinkle lights in December couldn’t hurt.  Turn the heat up.  Give potential buyers a reason to linger.  Make them think that your home is a sanctuary from the cold.

One thing is for certain—the winter months are when a prospective buyer is going to get a true sense of what a house is like.  Is the driveway an ice-slick?  Has the roof developed a leak?  Is there standing water up against the foundation?  Take the steps to ensure that your home is maintained, accessible, clean, and inviting.  Don’t let winter be an obstacle for your home sale.

Amanda has lived in Southeast Alaska for most of her adult life and recently moved back to Juneau for the third time. She is a graduate of Albertson College of Idaho with a degree in Creative Writing. To reach Amanda, please feel free to email her at