Spring is one of the best times of year to sell your home, according to a 2016 Zillow study. Homes that were listed between May 1st and May 15th sold around 18.5 days faster and for 1 percent more than the average listing. Though May might seem ages away, preparing to sell your home takes as much preparation as purchasing a home. Here’s our list of items you should start to take care of now.
Get a Home Inspection
According to the National Association, 77% of homebuyers have a home inspection completed before moving forward with a purchase. While buyers use a home inspection as a tool to forsee any potential issues with a home, as a seller you can gain knowledge of areas in your home that may be beneficial to repair or replace.
Replace or Repair the Necessities
After your home inspection, consider what items are worth replacing before selling. You've known for a long time that you need new windows, but replacing them right before selling won't give you any of the benefits and you likely won't recoup your spendings. When deciding what items should or shouldn't be fixed before listing, ask yourself:
- Does the faulty item give the impression that I didn't properly care for my home?
- Would it be a deal breaker for me, if I were buying the home?
- How much will I need to lower the asking price if I don't address it?
- Is it one of the first things a buyer will see when walking through my front door?
If you're considering making larger scale improvements or upgrades, it's a good idea to talk to your real estate agent first. They can give you an idea of comparable homes in your area, so you don't spend too much on improvements and recoup too little of your costs.
Any real estate agent and home staging expert will tell you it's essential to neutralize your paint colors. The goal is to project your home as a blank canvas so homebuyers aren't distracted by your own personal style preferences.
For best results, use lighter shades of beige, gray, tan, white or cream to make your home seem more expansive. Using a low-sheen paint will also help reduce the appearance of imperfections on walls and ceilings.
Complete a “Faux” Renovation
Updated bathrooms and kitchens are a top item on homebuyer want lists but tackling a complete remodel before selling may not be a wise move. Instead, focus on smaller ticket items that you can update like cabinet hardware, sink fixtures, storage and lighting. See our tips for how to complete a DIY kitchen and bathroom renovation on a budget.
Clean or Replace Flooring
Whether heavy foot traffic, messy kids or the family pet has made a mess of your flooring, if it's seen better days, you'll want to entertain the idea of replacing, repairing, updating or deep-cleaning it.
For carpet cleaning or replacement, it's probably best to wait until guests aren't tracking in snow and muck. If you want to refinish or replace any other flooring types, now is a good time to start making plans.
Take the Home Out of Your House
While you’re still stuck inside on cool evenings, you can start to hack away at your overload of belongings. Most real estate agents suggest packing away 30% of your belongings before showing your home to make floor and storage space appear bigger.
If you have a lot of memorabilia collections, keepsakes and family photos serving as home decor, those should be packed away as well.
Consult with a Home Staging Expert
According to the National Association of REALTORS 2015 Profile of Home Staging, this practice is a must. In fact, 81% of buyers feel it’s easier to visualize a staged property as a future home and 32% of buyers’ agents believe staging a home increases the dollar amount buyers are willing to offer by 1-5 percent.
The median cost to stage a home is $675, but whether you DIY or bring in a professional, staging your home will up your chances for a quick sell come listing time with a potentially higher purchase point.
Click here for ideas on the do's and don'ts of DIY home staging.
Scout Potential Real Estate Agents
Your home is your product and your real estate agent is your advertising, marketing, branding and sales team, which makes picking the right agent essential to your selling experience.
Now is a good time to start the selection process with questions like:
- How many clients did your serve last year? What percentage were sellers?
- How are you going to market my home?
- Do you work full-time or part-time as an agent?
- Can I see your references?
- How familiar are you with my neighborhood?
- Do you work with buyers in this price range?
Selling (or buying) a home is an emotional and sometimes stressful process, so picking a real estate professional who is experienced in your price range or area, is driven and is compatible with your goals, and you for that matter, is crucial.
Work on Your Curb Appeal
Even if your trees and perennials are still bare, there’s a lot you can do with the outward appearance of your home even in cool to mild temperatures. Complete this task as close to listing as possible. Start by:
- Raking the yard and removing any damaged or fallen branches from shrubs/trees.
- Enhancing your entryway by painting your door a fresh new hue, updating door hardware, hanging a spring wreath, and replacing your house numbers.
- Power-washing your siding, driveway, decks and sidewalks, on a warmer day of course.
- Washing windows, interior and exterior, as well as the screens.
- Adding LED pathway lighting.
If you're planning on buying another home after your own sells, download our free Upsizing/Downsizing Guide, a great resource for repeat-homebuyers.