There’s no doubt about it but home buying and selling typically peaks in the spring and summer. However, selling your home in the fall isn’t impossible. You can do a lot to help your home feel welcoming and bright to a potential off-season buyers. What’s important to remember when you’re looking to sell during the cooler weather months? Keep on reading to get a list of expert tips to help you sell your home fast:
Show the Possibilities
Showcase what your home has to offer by giving potential buyers the opportunity to see the home during other months of the year. Prepare a photo album or slideshow of the exterior in the summer and spring. Pay special attention to garden beds, patios or decks with furniture so the buyer can envision the home year-round, and other seasonal features such as ponds, pools, and playgrounds. Consider using a realtor who can provide a digital 3-D tour that shows the home in the daylight during the warmer months.
5-Star Curb Appeal
Leaf- and snow-covered sidewalks can make a perfectly nice home look sloppy and poorly maintained. Use a leaf blower regularly to keep leaves, branches, and outdoor dirt off the walkways, and do your best to keep the yard clear of leaves, too. Add fresh mulch to garden beds so they look their best (fall mulching is not uncommon and is beneficial for your plant beds). Rinse loose dirt from your home’s siding one last time before the temperature drops. If the lot lines are not as visible due to snow or leaf coverage, define property boundaries with brightly-colored flags tied to stakes, and place them at the four corners of your property. If it’s snowy, keep the deck shoveled and salted so buyers can walk outside to experience the space. If the climate allows, keep outdoor furniture on your patio so they can get a better feel for the size and layout of the outdoor living space. In addition, consider investing in landscape lighting, since visitors touring during the late afternoon or evening will have a much different experience than visitors who tour a home earlier in the day. Outdoor lighting accessories will amplify your home’s appeal, so consider solar lights lining a walkway, motion-activated spotlights, and landscape spotlights.
Let There Be Light
Natural light is the easiest way to highlight detail and features of your home in addition to making spaces appear larger and more open. Retract blinds, and widen curtains, so there’s minimal window coverage. The windows will look bigger, and it’ll encourage daylight to flow into your space. Remove screens from the windows to allow more natural light to flow into your home, and clean the windows as well. Be sure to let potential buyers know you will replace the screens if they are in poor condition. Experiment with your lightbulbs to find the most flattering hues for your space an don’t forget to use energy saving LED bulbs whenever possible. 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. Use hardwoods to your advantage, nothing shows off a home better than daylight bouncing off beautiful hardwood floors. Remove unnecessary area rugs to maximize the effect. Bring in extra floor lamps. Add them to rooms with dark corners to create a warmer setting.
Basic Home Maintenance
Check window seals and doors for drafts. A drafty window is most noticeable on a cold day, so take extra efforts to weather seal and insulate around windows and doors. Have the furnace or boiler maintained prior to putting your house on the market. On a cold day, buyers will want to make sure the systems are in good shape. Be a step ahead by having your maintenance team leave a sticker or magnet marking the date of the last inspection to add peace of mind for buyers. Swap out the HVAC filter to help reduce any odors or fall allergens in the home. Check for spider webs everywhere and be sure to remove them. Lastly, wipe down baseboards and other trim around the rooms.
Buyers will most likely look in all the places you don’t want them to look so it’s best to be one step ahead. Not to mention that a clean well maintained home presents better to a potential buyer. Clean inside the cabinet beneath both your kitchen and bathroom sinks. It’s likely they’ll glance at the plumbing, and they’ll notice if the plumbing and inside of the cabinet are dirty. Clean it well, consider adding a new piece of shelf liner on the bottom, and install slide out drawers or extra utility that’ll be appealing. Make shower heads look like new. Dust ceiling fan blades and the inside of your dishwasher and washing machine. Clean out all the nooks and crannies in the kitchen. And give the carpets a good deep cleaning.
Adding a fresh coat (or two) is the easiest and least expensive way to improve the appearance of your home and help with selling your home in the fall/winter. A light-colored interior will reflect more light than a dark one, and that may make all the difference on a gloomy, cool day. If the walls look dingy or dated, refresh the look of a room with a $25 can of satin or eggshell.
That’s to say, make your home as cozy and inviting as possible, so potential buyers can easily envision it as a friendly, welcoming space for family and friends. Accessorize the main living area with neutral-but-coordinated throws and pillows and unscented candles for ambiance. Make an impression with your gas or electric fireplace. Leave a note with the remote, prompting the potential buyers to turn it on, so they can enjoy the ambiance. Remove the TV in the living room if you can live without it. Yep, big black screens are an eyesore, especially if they’re blocking light or detracting from a beautiful mantel. Take another look at how the furniture is positioned now that the TV isn’t there. Consider rearranging to maximize the functionality of the space. It might not be how your family used the room, but it’ll present really well.
Be Sensitive to Seasons
Both in your listing photos and in real life during showings, keep the seasonal decor at bay while you’re trying to sell. No one expects a home to completely lack holiday decorations during these months, but simplicity is appealing. Opt for modest, neutral accessories. Do you have vaulted ceilings? You’re green-lighted to get a big tree, so buyers can appreciate the spectacular height of the ceilings. Resist the urge to add too many scents to your home. It may seem as if you’re trying to hide something. An unlit pine candle in a bathroom will appeal to the senses. Have holiday music playing low on a radio during December. During an open house, offer freshly-baked cookies, pumpkin muffins, or hot cocoa for visitors.
Dry mop to remove dust and dirt that you track in every evening. Vacuum area rugs and entryway mats daily, and keep toys at bay. Keep a focus on curb appeal. Continue to sweep or snowplow sidewalks, driveways, decks, and patio spaces in between showings.
Following these tips won’t necessarily guarantee that selling your home in the fall/winter will be easy, but it will guarantee that you make the best showing possible and present a home that any buyer could love.