Finding a new tenant is a challenge for any landlord. First, you need to attract interested tenants to apply. Then you must screen them and choose the best one for your space. But finding a new tenant in the winter? This adds a whole new layer of challenge because there are so few people looking to move during the coldest months. The winter is a great time for making improvements to an empty home, but a very slow time for finding new tenants ready to move in.
Fortunately, there are always a few people who need to move in the winter. Anyone searching for a rental home during this time of year is as eager to move in as you are to start the lease. But there’s still competition to deal with from any other local landlords with winter vacancies. The key to winning the winter tenants is to make your rental house as warm and welcoming as possible. This can be done even without furniture with a few simple home staging tricks.
Today, we’re here to talk about how to stage your rental homes to attract winter tenants.
One of the tricks every landlord should learn is the art of minimalist home staging. Usually, you don’t want to move in rented furniture to stage a house or apartment. But you do want to help potential tenants feel at home the moment they walk through the door. Minimalist staging is the method of sprucing up a home and showing the best light without furniture.
Instead, you use a few strategically placed props and subtly change the environment when presenting the house. In the winter, you want to stage in a way that reminds people of cozy cottages and holiday celebrations. Without creating clutter or overtly referencing any specific holiday. Minimalist staging primarily involves using scents, small decorations, and window dressings.
Warm Curtains in the Windows
How you dress your windows can say a lot about a home. Empty windows make a house look vacant and spooky while plain white miniblinds look generic and, in the winter, a little cold. Consider investing in some inexpensive curtains that feel like home, possibly in a dark red or green for the season. This will make the home look lived in from the outside and feel warmer on the inside.
If you are hosting tours in the evening, turn up the lights and draw back the curtains so that warm light spills welcomingly into the yard. Make artistic use of curtain ties to shape your curtains into traditionally attractive configurations for your home staging.
Candles and Wreaths
The best trick of minimalist staging is decorating without furnishing the rental home. You don’t need tables and chairs to add a little delightful detail to the space. Instead, use countertops, railings, and the tops of appliances as your surfaces to decorate. Red and white candles are a holiday tradition that makes many people smile without thinking about it. Place a few candles or candle-clusters around the house.
Wreaths and other forms of dry decorative plants are another great way to spruce up an empty house. Pair them with candles for a lovely centerpiece effect or hang a wreath on the stair banister to liven up a central area. Small twists of fragrant plants make the house smell great and create a subtle impression of festive holiday cheer.
Hot Cider with Cloves
Speaking of delicious fragrances, nothing says ‘holiday home’ like cider with cloves. Serving hot drinks is a long-standing tradition of wintertime open house events. Every time you have prospective tenants coming over for a viewing, start up a pot of cider with a few cloves dropped in to steep. This will create a truly wonderful holiday smell wafting through the air that might even start tempting new tenants before they come through the front door.
A mug of hot cider is a great home staging tip to welcome a future tenant and it will give them something delightful to sip as you show them from room to room. Not only will they warm up from the cold, but they may also warm up to the idea of moving into your rental house.
Woven Welcome Mats
Floor coverings should be used sparingly when home staging, but in the right places, they can have a big impact. Woven cloth mats can add a great deal of warmth to the appearance of a rental house, but you also don’t want to hide any of your lovely floors. The front door is the perfect place to put down a single accent mat. Choose something soft with fall and winter colors instead of the traditional stiff bristle mat or plain welcome mat.
Bathmats and towels, incidentally, are another great way to add a touch of softness to the home without overdecorating or bringing in any furniture. And, of course, the more your colors coordinate between curtains and mats, the better.
Red Lamp Shades
Our final trick for home staging is one that you might not expect: Make your lights a little redder. Red-tinted light is perceived as softer and warmer. It is more welcoming when your tenants are imagining future winter nights spent in this new home. Red lamp shades or, if you want to get creative, a few red light bulbs can make a real difference in portraying the home as a warm and inviting place.
Consider dispersing the lighting as well, especially for open house events. The bright overhead lights are great for inspecting details and cleaning, but soft light from lamps and candles will feel more like a winter home to many people.
Attracting new residents in the winter can be highly competitive. By implementing even a few of these winter staging tricks, you can make your rental home far more appealing than any generically prepared, empty-windowed alternative in town. By making your home warm and inviting, you can call to what all of us want most out of a home in the winter: a welcoming place to share the holidays with loved ones.