by John E. Baer, SRES, SRS
If you and your home are ready to be listed now, in November, then keep in mind that the fall is the second best time of the year to list a home for sale. This is particularly true this year. The economy is better, mortgage rates are low, the inventory of Westchester homes is low, currently making this fall a seller’s market.
Before you know it, spring will be here. Spring time is the ideal time for home buyers and home owners to buy and sell homes. In the winter, home sales slowdown and people focus on the holidays. Once spring hits, your home can and should shine its brightest. To prepare your home for sale before the spring hits, here are a few important tips.
Curb Appeal: Your home looks great to you, but buyers want to picture themselves living in it - so take a fresh look at it. Jump into your car, drive around the block, and then scrutinize your home as a prospective buyer will see it for the first time Believe it or not, buyers will make up their mind whether they like your house from its curb appeal.
Get Your Home Inspected: Getting your home inspected prior to the spring selling season can give you more time to make repairs. Additionally, you might find it easier to find a contractor since many are looking for work during the less busy winter months.
Make Repairs and Improvements: The last thing anyone wants to do before selling their home is to dump a bunch of money into it for an extensive renovation; however, there are minor repairs and improvements that can be made to make a home look fresher for potential buyers. Here are a few worthwhile improvements that can be made without spending a fortune. 1) Apply a coat of paint to walls and trim, and touch up all areas that look faded. 2) Buyers want homes to be light and bright, so replace your light bulbs that are lower wattage than they should be, or even add a lamp to lighten your home up. 3) The bathrooms and kitchen tend to be a focal point in homes and buyers pay attention to whether or not they’ve been updated. Doing things like re-grouting the tile on the bathroom floor, or caulking the shower and bathtub, can give a used bathroom a fresher appearance.
Start Packing: It may sound crazy to start packing months in advance of your move, but since you’ll eventually need to do this anyway, you might as well get organized now. Start by sorting through your storage closets, attic, basement or garage to determine what you want to keep, what to give away and what to sell.
Clear Away the Clutter: Get rid of clutter in every area. Remember, this is no time to be sentimental. If you don’t use it, lose it.
Clean, Clean, Clean: Next, it’s time to really clean - and I mean REALLY clean. Have the carpets professionally cleaned, strip and polish the floors, scour the bathrooms, polish the furniture, wash the windows, and spiff up the ceiling fans and kitchen appliances.
Start the Depersonalization Process: A big part of selling your home is making potential buyers picture themselves living there. That means photos of your family, a collection of figurines or sports memorabilia and other personal touches need to go.
Organize Your Closets: Storage space is a huge selling point, and if your closets are stuffed to the brim, buyers think you don’t have enough closet space. Invest in some boxes, dividers and other solutions that will help you make your stuff look more organized, and remove extra items you don’t need immediately.
Turn the Bathroom into a Spa: Create the feel of a relaxing, luxurious bath - for less than $30. Stack a few pretty washcloths tied with ribbon, add some scented candles or plants, and buy a fresh looking bath mat and puffy towels in coordinating tones.
If you spend the next three months preparing for spring, you’ll find yourself ready to move fast when buyers come out of hibernation.
John E. Baer, SRES, SRS is a NYS licensed real estate salesperson associated with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Westchester Properties of Scarsdale and Larchmont. He can be reached for questions at 914/600-6086 or at 914/844-2059. His website is www.WestchesterHomes.info.