Worried you missed your window when it comes to selling your home this year? It’s true that spring and summer are the hottest (literally) seasons of the year, with more buyers out there looking to purchase a home and get settled before school starts. Also, there is some recent data out there that says that October and December are two of the slowest months of the year for home sales.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t offload your home now, or that you won’t get a good price if you do. If you have to list now and you want to get your home in the best position to sell quickly and for a good number, heed these tips.
Make sure your home is market ready
Buyers at this time of year tend to be serious. They may not be any more excited about buying right now than you are about selling, but they’re in the market because of a relocation or a financial situation or some other circumstance, and they likely want to find something, get it under contract, and move in fairly quickly.
A home that’s not in great shape is typically going to take longer to sell at any time of year—unless it’s a super bargain. When there are limited buyers out there and you’ve got competition from other area homes, your place has to show well.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you need expensive or extensive renovations. But a relatively inexpensive yet incredibly important update like painting out kitchen cabinets can go a long way. Following the basic rules of home staging is also critical:
• Scour and tidy up
Your real estate agent may have some other suggestions to make your home more sellable.
Celebrate the season
A few pumpkins, a fall wreath, a couple of candles with an autumnal scent or a simmering pot of cinnamon sticks—they’re little touches that can help your home feel more inviting and more fall-like for showings, without going overboard. Your Halloween décor may be stellar, but real estate agents steer sellers away from over-decorating so buyers aren’t distracted or turned off.
Put in a little extra effort for great photos
"According to one study done by a real estate photography company, top-notch photos can make your house sell 32% faster than a house with low quality or average pictures,” said Homelight. “That’s not just for million-dollar mansions, either. The study, conducted by VHT Studios, took houses of all values into account.”
It might be a little more challenging to get those photos in fall, however; Natural light is preferable for listing photos. “Fall and winter photos run the risk of looking drab, but well-timed summer photos are bright, clean, warm—really everything you need to stand out to serious buyers. So take advantage of the season’s best days and include those photos in the listing when you go to sell in the fall,” said Owners.com.
If good natural light is hard to come by at this time of year in your area, using a professional photographer is even more important. They will have tricks to help overcome the challenges.
Let There Be Light
Emphasizing the natural light in photos is one thing. You also want you home to look as light and bright as possible for showings and tours. “Retract blinds, and widen curtains, so there’s minimal window coverage,” said HGTV.
“The windows will look bigger, and it’ll encourage daylight to flow into your space. Experiment with your lightbulbs to find the most flattering hues for your space. A bathroom looks great with daylight bulbs (5,000-6,500K) and living spaces, such as bedrooms and living rooms, look best with soft white bulbs (2,700K). In general, your home’s design and color palette will play a part in what looks most appealing. Go for cozy and bright. If you’re upgrading bulbs in hard-wired fixtures, consider going all LED. Let the buyers know you’re leaving the bulbs for them.”
Be mindful of your curb appeal
Falling leaves are inevitable in autumn. You may not be able to rake or remove every single one of them in time for a surprise or last-minute showing, but making sure you take a walk around your house every day to address any areas that need clean-up can help you from having to make a big effort when an agent calls with an interested client.
You know what they say: You only get one chance to make a first impression. “Rake dead leaves and debris in your lawn,” said The Balance. “Don't let overgrown vegetation block the windows or path to the entrance. Cutting bushes and tree limbs will let the sun inside and showcase the exterior of your home. Cutaway summer vines and cut down dead flowers. Make the most of the autumn weather in the fall real estate market.”
Adding a few fall flowers is another good idea that will up your curb appeal. “The most popular autumn flowers are chrysanthemums (or mums), and they bloom for a long time. Marigolds are another idea for fall. Both mums and marigolds are available in yellow, which is my number one home selling color. Plant them in pots. Place pots on the steps and along the sidewalk.”
Key in on your target market
Your agent should be able to help you pinpoint who the most likely buyers are. Armed with that info, you can tailor your home to specific target markets.
“If you have a hunch your house may appeal to empty-nesters, here’s how to play up that attraction: Emphasize multipurpose space—for instance, stage one bedroom as a home office-cum-hobby room—because empty-nesters crave flexibility for the future,” said Bob Vila. “Provide a map to points of interest within walking distance. To the extent possible, aging baby boomers wish to integrate exercise into their daily habits. Showcase quality. Without teenagers around, empty-nesters can enjoy more delicate finishes and fine details, so give them something to brag about. They want to upgrade as they downsize.”