How to Sell Your Home in the Spring
It is no secret that spring is one of the busiest times of the year for real estate markets. The warmer weather brings out consumers who are excitedly looking for homes. This bodes well for sellers, especially those who took the opportunity during the winter months to get their home ready for spring buyers. Even with some of the recent housing industry woes, there is optimism this will be a good year with plenty of consumer real estate activity. Is your home ready to list and sell? Here are several tips on how to sell your home in the spring!
Find the Right Real Estate Agent
You should start interviewing prospective real estate agents as soon as possible. Don’t underestimate the importance of a real estate expert. A good listing agent will make a huge difference when it comes to selling your property quickly. Furthermore, they will provide you with invaluable advice, help you set the price according to current market conditions, and will guide you through the entire home selling process. Take you time to a find an agent who has a strong online presence and who meets your specific needs. When you find an experienced individual, well acquainted with the local market, you will know it.
If you are having difficulty choosing a listing agent, you can ask friends and relatives for recommendations. It is also smart to perform a search online and see what others have said about them and the services they provide. Also, ensure you make a distinction between amateurs and professionals. The amateur will most likely claim that they can sell your property for the highest price or will readily accept whatever price you say (what are comparable homes selling for?). The pro will present you with a thorough market analysis and fact based information to help you come up with the right price to list your home, get it seen by buyers and investors, and ensure it gets sold! The bottom line…you want your agent to tell you how to sell your home in the Spring!
Develop a Plan
It is important to be on the same page as your agent to ensure you establish a selling strategy for your home at the beginning of the listing process. The most basic thing you can do is create a to-do list. This will help you break the home selling process into different tasks while dividing them into specific time ranges. By taking this approach you will feel less overwhelmed and able to remain focused longer. It will also help you track the status of the tasks you are undertaking.
Include in this step a market research of the available inventory similar to your home. It is very important to understand what your competition is both in the general area and in your neighborhood. If supply exceeds demand you may need to adapt to the conditions. Conversely, you may have more negotiation leverage if the demand is higher than the available homes for sale. Working with your agent, and understanding what the numbers mean, will help you gauge the expected activity level and time your right priced home will typically be on the market.
Set the Right Price
This is the trickiest part of the selling process. If your home is overpriced there is a good chance it may sit on the market. You can save yourself this unpleasant experience by setting a market smart price from the onset. Eliminate your personal bias’ about how great your property is and compare it recent similar sales to see how your home stacks up.
Market conditions and area appreciation rates are crucial when determining the surplus or shortage of housing, which consequently results in the rise or fall of home prices. If your market has a surplus of houses for sale, the price you can expect to get for your home is typically lower than average, which means you may need to consider waiting until the condition improves if you have no equity in the home.
Setting a higher than market price will discourage many buyers and you may not get many visitors and certainly less offers. If you are aiming for a quick sale, offering the house for a lower price is quite often the approach to take. This is one of those times the opinion of your estate agent will come in handy. Don’t hesitate to consult with them because no one wants turned down offers, or worse yet, no offers at all.
It might sound a bit odd to begin packing so early, but chances are you have accumulated a lot of stuff. The more items you pack away (and remove from the property) the more space the home will have and the better it will look to prospective consumers. If you wait, you could run the risk of your home not showing well, which is definitely counter-productive to getting an offer and closing the deal.
Wrap up excess plates, fixtures and appliances right away. Start sorting items in your storage areas such as attics, closets, basements and the garage. Many items that found their way to storage are probably not important for your everyday life and you might be able to donate, give away, sell, or discard. If you have packaged up a lot of your possessions, you might want to decide if a hiring a storage facility to keep the items is a smart move.
Inspect Your Home
The simple truth is that if you want something you often have to give something in return. This is especially true when selling your home. One of the smart things you can do is to have a pre-listing home inspection to get an idea what needs to be fixed and which items you can possibly use as a negotiation piece when an offer comes in.
Your agent can help guide you on which items it makes sense to resolve to ensure your home passes the critical eye test that buyers will put it through. The more you repair, the more likely you are to sell quickly and for a decent price. If there is ever a doubt, err on the side of caution and get the issue resolved.
Repair Your House
It sounds basic but many either do not have the time or resources to make repairs on a regular basis. The longer you wait, the more these issues will compound, and the more leverage you will be giving away. When buyers have the upper hand, you can expect the offers to be lower than expected.
You do not necessarily need to make huge and expensive renovations either. Often minor repairs and cosmetic improvements such as repainting the walls and kitchen cabinets or fixing the drains will refresh the place. You can also update the light fixtures, replace switch plates, and swap out handles to achieve a neat appearance.
Remove the Clutter
This is such a critical step that many sellers do not take full advantage of. To present your home in its best light you need buyers to view themselves living in your place. If they have to walk over or around your stuff that will not happen. You also need to remove many personal items such as family pictures, children’s artwork, and even whatever is magnetized or taped to your refrigerator. Go less personal and more neutral.
Everyone has some clutter but no buyer wants to see a pile of bills on the coffee table or your old magazine collection piled in the corner. Cleaning off flat surfaces such as shelves and counter-tops is a must. Any personalized items and all collections should be packed away. Instead of showing your taxidermy collection just clear out the spaces. If you want to display something, consider a vase with fresh flowers to add a homey and soothing tinge.
You should also remove excess or beyond reasonable wear furniture. This will show home hunters how much space your place has and allow their imagination to take over and visualize what they would put in the space. Once on the market you will need to keep your place as neat as possible. If the purpose of the room is clear it gives buyers a better understanding of its use.
Tackle the House Cleaning
After you have packed up and removed the clutter, you need to do a thorough cleaning (hire Cleaning Services Cleaners Ltd or another quality professional cleaning service if you are unable/unwilling to do it yourself). Once the home is clean it is much easier to keep it that way. With a little dusting, rinsing and wiping, your home will look and smell its best for every visitor that comes through.
Carpet and window cleaning might seem like overkill, but you should not skip it. The cleaner your home looks and feels the more at ease potential buyers will be. It can be a bit annoying to have to live in a near-sterile environment but it is a smart choice while your home is active on the market.
Staging Your Home
If you can afford to stage your home it is well worth considering to give buyers a sense of what the home could look like. Many times they will re-purpose items you already have and save you a lot of money. Shop around and you may just find you can afford to bank roll a home stager to turn your home into the best version of itself. Do not forget to give the outdoor space an overhaul if you want to use it as a selling feature.
Improve Curb Appeal
While it is very important to make sure you have all your bases covered inside of the home, it is equally as important to make sure you give the outside of the home some tender loving care too. Simple things like painting the front door, cleaning up planters/flower beds, adding a bit of color with seasonal flowers and shrubs, replacing fence slats, repairing decks and window molding, and ensuring the hedges and trees are neatly pruned will give a positive first impression.
Buyers make a decision in the first few seconds of seeing a home whether or not they want to stop and check out the property. If the outside of your home looks inviting, you are telling buyers to come in and see how great the inside looks too. You only get one opportunity to make a good first impression and it starts with the curb appeal.
Make Social Media Your Best Friend
Hopefully your agent is doing a full marketing blitz, at regular intervals, to take advantage of getting your home seen online by consumers. While that is necessary and expected, as a homeowner you can also take advantage of evolving technologies to draw attention to your home. Post pictures on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Pinterest and get the word out on all the other social sites you frequent. If you enjoy Reddit, use it to spread the word. If you like taking videos, do that and get your property posted on YouTube and Vimeo.
The best part is, it is either completely free or very inexpensive to share information and get your property seen online by the masses. Whatever your online activity and presence is, use it to your advantage!
With a little work and a solid plan you have an excellent opportunity to get your home ready for the spring real estate market. You will be prepared, buyers will love your home, and the potential for a quick and profitable sale are very possible. Learning how to sell your home in the Spring is easy, it is the follow-through with all the steps outlined above that can take some time.
Additional Resources for a Spring Home Sale
The Best Home Selling Tips courtesy of Bill Gassett
Things You Need to Put Away when Selling Your Home via Debbie Drummond
Mistakes Home Sellers Make by Karen Highland