For most families, summertime is the ideal moving season. Not only are kids out of school, but the beautiful warm weather has available homes looking their best. Still, not every family has the luxury of moving in the summer, which means plenty of homebuyers are stuck moving into properties in the dead of winter. When spring arrives, it becomes abundantly clear that some wintertime purchases do not make for spring and summer paradises.
Still, it is possible to buy a spring- and summer-worthy home when the snow is falling – as long as you know what to look for. Even better, it is possible to prep a dreary winter home for bright, warm springtime before the snows start to melt. Here’s a handy guide to ensure you have a beautiful home during both off- and on-seasons.
What to Look for in a Winter House
It is futile to attempt to find curb appeal when a yard and home are subsumed by blankets of snow, as they are in most regions during the winter. When the weather is bleak, you won’t be able to tell how much sunlight different rooms get or whether the deck is a comfortable setting for entertaining. However, a dark sky and snow doesn’t prevent you from fully assessing a house’s worth; in fact, house shopping in the winter allows insight into aspects of a home you might not realize when the weather is fairer.
For example, though the landscaping may look bleak, the poor conditions can show you how the rest of the neighborhood cares for their property. If the surrounding houses boast front yards piled high with sludge-colored snow, if the street is littered with wintertime debris, or if the neighbors haven’t taken down holiday decorations by mid-January, you might understand more about the attitude and responsibility of the people in the area than you would otherwise recognize.
Additionally, poor winter weather allows you to assess the weatherproofing in your potential home. When the forecast is clear and dry, you have no opportunities to find leaks in the roof, drafty windows and doors, or poorly functioning heaters, which means buying a home in the summer can be a gamble. Weatherproofing problems are often expensive to fix, so it is better to find a sealed and secure home – and the best time to do that is the winter.
How to Prep Homes for Spring
Once you settle on a winter home, you should do everything you can to prepare it for the spring. Typically, homes for sale during the cold weather months receive superficial maintenance – to make them look attractive to buyers – but rarely receive the upkeep they need to look beautiful come spring. Before the weather starts warming, you should spring into action to keep your new house looking fresh.
First, you should focus on the lawn. Usually, lawns do not require much care during the winter because grass goes dormant when temperatures drop. However, you might want to assess your lawn’s health before you assume that it will grow green and lush in the coming months. An uneven grade can collect water, which will drown your grass (and cultivate a colony of mosquitoes) in the warm seasons, so leveling your lawn might be necessary during the winter.
Additionally, you should clear away debris, including dead leaves, which can smother the roots and cause ugly, dead patches of grass. When the weather does start to warm, you should hire an expert to provide spring lawn care, which can be grueling work.
Larger plants need attention during winter, too. Storms and foul weather causes extensive damage to trees and shrubs, and you must properly repair that damage fast before it proves fatal to the plant. Whenever you spy a broken limb, you should prune the plant just before the break. It is imperative that you adhere to the rules of pruning, even when your plants lack leaves, so your yard blooms beautifully in the spring.
Finally, winter wreaks havoc on your house’s gutters, and it is wise to repair any damage before the spring rains start. Installing new gutters isn’t hard, especially once you set up your ladder and purchase the correct gutter clips. Still, mistakes can drown your yard or flood your home, so if you feel uncomfortable, you should hire a professional.
The winter is a magical time of year – even for homebuyers. Though it does take a bit of extra work to find and prepare the right house during winter, it is possible to love a home found in the cold and dark.