Emerging Technologies

When it’s so cold outside, your thoughts might begin to wander toward purchasing a home in an alluring warmer climate—perhaps one with a seashore. If that’s the case, you may want to check out these tips for both selling and buying a home during the winter. Whether you’re thinking about living in the home full time, or just considering it as a second home, here’s our two-cent’s worth on the topic.

• Think about how far you want to travel from your primary residence and the travel costs involved. Also, consider the property taxes, along with the natural or recreational opportunities, economic history and current conditions of the new region and state.

• Remember that owning a vacation property includes maintenance, utilities, property and state taxes, prices of seasonal activities, weather concerns and insurance. These costs can constantly change and accumulate quickly.

• Will the property be an investment, rental opportunity, legacy or retreat? If it’s an investment, consider any improvements the home might require, availability of skilled help in the area, and the community’s economic history and vitality. Also consider how long you need to retain the property to ensure a reasonable return on investment.

• Renting your winter home can be an effective way to offset some of the mortgage costs, but it also can come with tax implications and additional expenses in the form of repairs of tenants’ damage. If you allow and charge rent for occupancy for no more than two weeks a year, however, the interest on the mortgage and the property taxes are deductible from your gross income.

• One of the most neglected areas of a home during the winter months are outdoor living and entertaining spaces. Consider staging your yard with patio furniture, a fire pit and heat lamps. Fun and bright colors can liven up an outdoor space as well. If you have lots of trees, also remember to rake or use a blower to clear leaves, and to clean gutters and trim any dead flowers.

• One of the best tips for selling a home during the winter is to have plenty of light. Consider adding extra lights to bedrooms (with bedside and floor lamps) or even installing recessed lighting in darker rooms. Also be sure that all of your light bulbs are the same color temperature (soft white, bright white or daylight).

• Place a slow-cooked cider on the stove, lay out some mugs and add an inviting note. In addition, use throw blankets to add some color to a room. Leaving the gas fireplace on is also a nice touch.

• Bring in some flowers and plants to help breathe life into your home. Succulents such as cactus, aloe and jade plants are the perfect indoor options for winter, and they require little watering. English ivy and hibiscus also are great for adding some color.