Selling Your Home During An Ottawa Winter

With more home sellers and home buyers looking to get a jump on the spring market, the days of “no listings in January” are long gone. Instead, agents are providing guidance and resources to ensure a home can be marketed – regardless of the season!

Selling Your Home During An Ottawa Winter

Grey skies, freezing rain, snowstorms. Ottawa is notorious for long, harsh winters, and yet, it is also home to a long list of amazing things to see and do. Therefore, if you plan to sell your home during the mid-winter chilling months, you will need to spend a few extra minutes making your home welcoming and attractive.

ottawa real estate winter shovel showingEmbrace the Shovel
While you may have grown accustomed to entering and exiting your home via the garage during the winter, potential buyers will be using your driveway and walkway. Make a point to have your driveway cleared and walkway shoveled after every showfall. If freezing rain is the flavour of the day, be sure to use a traction or ice melter product. Remember: First impressions count!

“Welcome Home”, Cheerfully
In the deep winter months, there is nothing more refreshing than visiting a home with a vibrant, seasonal display. From a tasteful wreath, to urns or potted displays, there is no shortage of creative ways to bring colour to the front step of your home. Thankfully there is an abundance of inspiration on websites like Better Homes & Gardens or Pinterest. If home décor is not your forté, never fear – stores like Costco Canada, Home Depot, Lowes, Rona and other retailers have a wide assortment of displays certain to enhance the curb appeal of your home.

ottawa winter home sales curb appealGet Staging
On the heels of the exterior décor elements comes an invaluable interior décor suggestion: staging. Winter is bleak and dreary, therefore to ensure you can get top dollar for your home, staging is a necessity.

Real estate agents and professional stagers know how to make your home look appealing to potential buyers. It could be something as simple as a pop of colour with vibrant sofa cushions or repositioning furniture to enhance the natural light entering your home. Imagine the pride you will feel knowing your home is picture perfect!

If your real estate agent does not include staging as part of their marketing package, it would be best to seek referrals for a home staging company in your area.

Goodbye Shadows, Hello Sunshine
Daylight hours are limited during the winter, so home sellers must take advantage of the natural light. Real estate agents will always do their best to schedule daytime visits where possible. This means before leaving for the day, you should make a point to open your blinds and curtains – it’s time to let the sun shine in!

On the rare occasions when the sun is shining, you might have noticed how dirty your windows look. Turns out in the spring, summer and fall, nature’s beauty tends to block the natural sunlight from fully hitting your windows. Once winter hits, every imaginable fingerprint, streaking or residue from glass cleaner will be visible. Where possible, spend a few extra minutes to keep your windows clean. The same applies to your window screens. If they are accessible from the inside, use a vacuum attachment to provide a gently yet effective cleaning.

winter ottawa home sellers tipsHeat It Up
We are all feeling the heat from the rising utility rates, but when it comes to selling a home for top dollar – frugality is not a good selling tool. Always turn up the heat in your home before you leave for showings. Prospective buyers will appreciate walking into a warm, cozy home.

In the event you have a gas fireplace, either turn it on immediately before a showing or ensure your real estate agent knows how to turn it on. While wood fireplaces certainly create the ultimate feeling of comfort, you should never leave a wood burning fireplace unattended!

Let There Be Light
Not every potential buyer will be able to see your home during the day. For this reason, it is critical to ensure all the light fixtures, lamps and bulbs are in perfect working order and give off as much light as possible.

To capture the eye of the “drive by” clients, setting up a selection of indoors and outdoor lights on a timer is a great trick. It makes your home look inviting and ultimately enhances the curb appeal.

Selling your home during an Ottawa winter is indeed possible. By taking the time to look at your home from a buyer’s point of view, you can highlight quality elements and draw attention to popular winter-only features like a fireplace. If you have been contemplating the sale of your Ottawa home, let’s connect and discuss ways to best market your home.

Martin Elder 
Phone: 613-236-5959
Westboro Office: 613-722-3733
Cell: 613-296-8065


Winterizing Your Home

home ottawa winterizingWithout a doubt, winter has arrived in Ottawa. Which means if you have been procrastinating about getting your home prepared for winter – there is no time left to make excuses!

Winterizing Your Home

Given the volume of tasks one needs to accomplish “around the house” during a given year, the Martin Elder Real Estate Group offers these handy tips and reminders.

Exterior Inspection

  • Walk the exterior of your home, paying close attention for minuscule cracks and crevices. All exposed entry points, especially around pipes, should be sealed.
  • Weather stripping can be applied around doors to prevent drafts.
  • Caulk windows and doors
  • Basement window wells can be covered on the exterior with a plastic shield and on the interior with window plastic.
  • Summer screens (if utilized) can be removed and replaced with storm windows.
  • Rake all debris and vegetation away from your foundation.
  • Secure any crawlspaces
  • Inspect windowsills for rot

Plumbing & Components 

  • Drain all garden hoses
  • Turn off water supply to exterior taps
  • Insulate all exposed plumbing pipes
  • If your air conditioner has a shut-off valve, turn it off.

Roof, Gutters & Downspouts

  • Worn our roofing should be replaced before the snow flies.
  • Gutters should be cleaned and downspouts should be tested with a hose to ensure water flows away
  • Leaf guards or gutter guards are an excellent way to keep gutters clean
  • Downspout extensions are affordable and help move water away from your foundation.

Furnace Inspection

  • Have your duct work cleaned
  • Be sure to replace your furnace filter. Buy spares and replace and/or clean the filter monthly.
  • Consider replacing an outdated thermostat with a programmable model.
  • Be sure to keep the area around your furnace well ventilated and free from obstructions.


  • Install or Clean a chimney cap to ensure birds or rodents are not nesting
  • Have a chimney sweep remove creosote and soot build-up and inspect the fireplace damper
  • Prepare log pile
  • Store wood in a dry place, away from the exterior walls of your home.
  •  Check tuck-points and condition of chimney brick mortar.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  • Confirm with the City of Ottawa (or your local municipality) about smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector requirements
  • Change all detector batteries when daylight saves ends
  • Always install a carbon monoxide detector near your hot water header and/or furnace
  • Regularly test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Replace all expired fire extinguishers

Winterize Your Seasonal Gear

  • Lawn mowers and edge trimmers should be drained of gas
  • Clean off, dry and store all summer-specific gardening tools
  • Have snowblower tuned-up
  • Place snow shovels in convenient and easily accessible locations
  • Purchase bags of sand, pickling grit or other traction products