Sure, it’s cold, dark, and the way is paved with slush, but for whatever reason, now is the time you have to list your apartment.

It’s a different game that it would be if the birds were out chirping in the sunshine. While there may be fewer buyers in the winter, there are also fewer homes available. Use this to your advantage and make your place a must-see. Speaking of, just be sure you don’t post it on New Year’s Day or any other holiday. List on a day where people are the most likely to see it come in to their inbox.

Any time of year, selling an apartment is about the experience. Just as there are preparations to make for a showing in the summer, there are different considerations in the winter. It’s not harder. It’s just different. Here’s how to do it right.

Pre-Showing Fixes

To get someone to come to your apartment in the winter is a little harder if they have to fight a blizzard to arrive. So it’s important to put the work in ahead of time to tantalize them.

Let there be (as much) light (as possible)!

Since it’s colder and darker in the winter, you want to maximize the light you

have and create a space that is warm and inviting.

  • Show in the middle of the day or in the morning to use any natural daylight available.
  • Make sure your paint colors are bright and cheerful, and touch up the paint where needed.
  • Use flowers to add some extra cheer.
  • Invest in floor lamps, but keep the choices in line with what your broker recommends.
  • Have your windows cleaned.

Let it breathe

There’s nothing like walking into a prospective home and smelling the previous owner’s socks. You want people to imagine themselves in your apartment, not trying to imagine what that smell might be.

  • If it’s not too cold, open some windows before the showing.
  • Buy an air purifier and run it for at least an hour before the showing. Shut it off just beforehand for quiet.
  • Take your pet with you when you go out. No matter how cute.

Keep it clean

These tips go for a showing at any time of year, but they’re especially important in the winter, when the lack of light tends to make the space feel dingy.

  • Change your bedsheets at least once a week.
  • Don’t take a shower within an hour of people coming to see the home. You would be shocked at how many people in high-end apartments leave a human steam bath for people to walk into. *Shudder*
  • De-clutter. I know winter requires a lot of accessories, but you’ve got to get them out of there. Not mittens, hats, or scarves to be seen. Surfaces should be clean.


  • Get a designer to do a consultation. Some stagers are better at vacant spaces, and some are better when you just need to tweak a few things. You need a stager that can help you with all the small changes you need to optimize your showing.
  • Absolutely no holiday decorations. You don’t want to alienate anyone who doesn’t celebrate the holidays you do.
  • Invest in quality photography and, if your property is appropriate for video (meaning not totally tiny), invest in video.

Day-of Showing Accommodations

It’s not prime real estate season, so you should have a bit more time to give your prospective buyers the best possible experience. When people first walk in, you want them to feel comfortable enough to take off their coat and stay awhile. You don’t want them to be distracted by an uncomfortable temperature, a strong smell, or having to take their shoes off.

Everything should feel clean and fresh and inviting.

  • Close your toilet seats before prospective buyers arrive.
  • Set the thermostat accordingly, but no higher than 70 degrees. The temperature should be warm enough to be welcoming, but not hot. People are coming in from outside and if it’s too hot, they’ll want to turn around and leave so they can stop sweating.
  • Have a coat rack available so people have somewhere to put their hats, coats, and scarves.
  • Go with a sophisticated, neutral and wintery smell. Nothing strong like pine or cinnamon. No Uber air fresheners. Uncommon James has some lovely options.
  • Have booties ready. People don’t really want to take their shoes off. (We’ve all see the Sex and the City episode.) Since it’s winter, it may get messy out there. ShuBee has waterproof ones in black, so — while they’ll never be chic — it’s as chic as possible considering it’s basically a foot condom.

Finally, when in doubt, do whatever your agent says. They know how to get you through.