A large majority of home sellers wait to list their homes in the spring or summer, but that doesn't mean you should wait to start preparing you home. Cooler temperatures and inclement weather creates a great opportunity to focus on making the right updates, upgrades and repairs to list your home in it's best possible condition.
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If selling your home is one of your 2016 New Year's Resolutions, remember the 5 P's: proper planning prevents poor performance. Use these tips to get your home ready for the spring/summer market.
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.
Consider the Homebuyer's Viewpoint
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 illusion that I didn't properly care for my home?
- Would it be a deal breaker for me, if I was 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.
While the cold is keeping you indoors, now is the perfect time 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.
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. If you're wanting to refinish or replace any other flooring types, now is a good time to start making plans. Afterall, wooden floors add an average of 6 percent to the selling price of a home, according to This Old House.
De-Clutter & De-Personalize
While you're stuck inside this winter, 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, a good time to start packing those items away is when you take down your holiday decorations.
Consult with a Home Staging Expert
According to the National Association of REALTORS 2015 Profile of Home Staging, this practice is a must. Highlights from the report include:
- 32% of buyers' agents believe staged homes increases the dollar value buyers are willing to offer by one to five percent.
- 81% of buyers feel it's easier to visualize a staged property as a future home.
- 46% of buyers are more willing to complete a walk through of a staged home that they viewed online.
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
It's no secret that if you live in a location that experiences all four seasons that winter is usually a less active time for the real estate market. As a seller, this gives you time to interview and select the right real estate agent for listing your home. Questions you should ask during the process include:
- 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 essential to your selling experience.
If you're planning on buying another home after your own sells, download our free Upsizing/Downsizing Guide, a great resource for repeat-homebuyers.