When the mercury is low in the thermometer and the ground is frozen or even covered in snow, the spring real estate market isn’t always at the forefront of people’s minds. However, if you are looking to sell your home this spring, now is the time to prepare! Depending on how wonderfully wintry the year is, you may need to focus on the indoor list first before moving to the outside of your home. The key is to spend time getting ready during the winter months so you are able to list your ready-to-sell home as soon as the snow melts and buyers start to prowl!
THE GRAND “TO DO” LIST
Deep clean. Wash or touch-up paint on walls in high-traffic areas and give the trim a good scrubbing or fresh coat of paint. Have carpets and other flooring professionally cleaned, wash windows inside and out, bleach or clean grout, polish mirrors, dust picture frames and ceiling fans, and either wash or vacuum blinds.
Fix the little things. Tighten doorknobs, oil squeaky hinges, patch wall cracks, replace missing sealant around doors and windows, and re-grout bathroom floor tile if it has cracked and disappeared over the years. Spend a little money to anticipate any issues that could arise in a buyer’s home inspection – have your electrical panel examined and the HVAC system thoroughly checked.
Declutter. Move off-season clothing out of your closets and into storage bins, recycle the stacks of magazines, put away the pile of shoes at the garage door, and clear things off the kitchen countertops. Pack those “I use this once every two years” items and anything else you can do without to get ahead of the packing curve. Consider getting rid of excess furniture or maybe renting a storage unit for all of the overflow.
Depersonalize. Remove or scale back religious or political décor items, trophies, family photos, and over-the-top theme rooms. Prospective buyers want to be able to visualize themselves making the home their own and that is most easily done from a blank slate.
Freshen the décor. Scale back heavy drapes, replace wallpaper with neutral paint, consider replacing bathroom and/or kitchen faucets with something more modern, replace old shower curtains with fresh ones, and swap out low wattage light bulbs for brighter bulbs. Have a set of “showing towels” to put out in the bathrooms and kitchen.
Improve your home’s curb appeal. Power wash the house and garage door, clean gutters, repaint the front door with a touch of tastefully chosen color, resurface the driveway, paint or replace the mailbox and house numbers. Clean and set out your outdoor furniture.
Weed and edge the driveway and sidewalks, trim back foliage, and invest a little time and money in planting colorful flowers. If it’s too early and cold to plant, have a garden plan in mind so you are ready to go when the warmer weather breaks. Presenting flowers in containers is an effective and quick way to spruce things up and to add color to the entrances to your home.
THE OTHER STUFF
Contact several real estate agents to get listing presentations as well as suggestions of what they think should be done in order to prepare your home for selling. Don’t feel like you have to retain the first agent you speak with, interview several before making a choice. Ask friends, family, and coworkers for recommendations. Choose a realtor who provides you with a market analysis that is detailed, realistic, and backed with reviewable statistics. A well-priced home will sell more quickly than one that is overpriced.
Consult with a staging professional (or your realtor) to obtain recommendations for how best to show your home using the furniture and belongings you already have. If you’ve already moved out of the home, you may want to consider hiring a stager to bring in furniture and accessories instead of showing an empty house.
If your chosen real estate agent doesn’t offer professional photographs as part of their company’s marketing package, have them done yourself. If you are using a stager, you may want him or her to be present for the photo shoot.
Provide your realtor with information about the improvements you’ve made to your home and any special features she might want to include in the home description. Having a compelling story of why anyone and everyone should love your home is an incredible asset in the sale process.
If some of your family members are the furry kind that walk on all fours, you may want to have contingency plans in place for temporary housing, especially during open houses. Same goes for feathered friends and reptiles – not everyone wants to know that a ball python previously inhabited their bedroom!
Declutter, deep clean, and maximize your property’s curb appeal. And it never hurts to have a “Showing to Do” list with tasks to be done and who is responsible for doing it. Whether it is being listed for the first time or going back on the market after a winter break, the spring home sales market presents a fabulous opportunity so make the most of it. I would love to work with you as you ready your home for sale - contact me today!