After writing my last post about buying or selling your home during the winter, I've spotted a few other winter advocates in blogs and on Twitter.
Two writers, Jean Richer and Lenn Harley, each made an especially important point – which is quite applicable for all seasons. They reminded all sellers to make sure to set the heater for a comfy and WARM temperature, at least for showings. After all, if your house is not warm enough prospective buyers will hurry OUT of your house, back to the car where there may be a warm blanket, and on to another home for sale that might be warmer.
Whenever I've sold homes in the past few years, I've always kept all the utilities on and the heater set at comfortable temperatures. I also leave lights on in all the rooms, which had been simply staged. Your house will show better and be more interesting and enticing to buyers as they walk through when they aren't wishing they had a cozy blanket to hide under.
This works just as well during the heat of summer. If people come to look at your lovely home but walk into a “furnace” because the outside temperature is 95 and humid and your air conditioner is turned off or way up high to save money, they won't see all the lovely staging and styling treats you have waiting for them. They'll just want to head right back out to find a home with a working air conditioner.
Another advantage of having the utilities on is that you won't have buyers wondering if your heater or air conditioner is broken. AND it will help speed the escrow process. I read recently about an escrow being delayed for days because the utilities were all turned off. When the home inspector came out, he had to reschedule since he couldn't test the various appliances. What that homeowner saved in utilities he more than lost in having to pay for extra days on his mortgage! There are some cautions and caveats though, as you can read at Keep The Fires Burnin….
Overall, yes, those utilities do cost some extra money. But I have always considered it part of the cost of selling the home – and a very SMALL part of the cost at that. And when those houses each sold fairly quickly and for good prices overall, I was very happy I'd chosen to keep those utilities on and keeping the home comfy warm in winter and wonderfully cool in the heat of the summer. I bet you will be too!