If you’re thinking about jumping into the real estate market this spring when things tend to heat up, the time to start preparing your home for market is now. Take advantage of the slower winter months to declutter, repair and update to make sure your home shows beautifully and inspects easily to maximize your selling price and insure a smooth closing. Here are a few easy tips to get a leg up for the spring selling season:
ENHANCE YOUR CURB APPEAL.
As mom always said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This applies to your home too! Your home may be Architectural Digest-ready on the inside, but if the exterior frontage is in a shambles you are unlikely to get the right buyer to even consider looking at your home. Make sure the paint appears fresh and there are no cracks or peeling on eaves, shutters or trim. Repair any cracks in driveways or walkways. Trim the bushes and trees and perhaps plant some colorful flowers. And why not give your front door a fresh paint of coat in a standout contrasting color?
LOOK UP, LOOK DOWN.
Look up. Cracks or water stains in the ceiling and walls can be scary for potential buyers. They often signify leakage issues which, because water travels, can be difficult to identify and repair. To avoid scaring off potential buyers or delaying closings, look for cracks and repair them before showing your house. Then look down. Stained carpets and worn floors tell a story about how you cared for the home. Clean your carpets and repair them if they are buckling. Or, if they are really bad, replace them with inexpensive carpeting. Sand and repair wood floors. Replace cracked tiles. These relatively inexpensive repairs will give buyers the impression that your home was well-cared for.
Crowded shelves, covered counters and overflowing closets make can make a home feel a bit claustrophobic and messy. Pick a small area each weekend from now until spring and pack away the photos, artbooks and odds-and-ends filling your shelves. Clean your kitchen counters keeping only the most essential items out. Start going through your clothes and shoes, making donation bags for the things you haven’t worn in two years and packing away the things you won’t need for several months. Since your goal is to move anyway, you’re just getting ahead on your packing!
FOCUS ON THE FUNCTIONAL.
Does your roof leak, or does it show wear? Are your gutters hanging? Do your faucets drip? Now is the time to make any repairs to heating and air-conditioning, plumbing, electrical, fireplaces and roofs. Let’s face it…any problems are going to come up in inspection and once revealed to buyers the process of repairs can be more costly. Or worse, they can result in a cancellation of sale.
MAKE EASY UPDATES.
The more dated your home looks, the less likely it is to bring top dollar. Old-style brass plumbing fixtures, towel bars or drawer pulls can be quickly and inexpensively replaced with more modern-looking brushed nickel or bronze. Replace old light fixtures. Remove old wall-paper and repaint in neutral tones. Potential buyers can more easily see themselves adapting in more neutral environments.
Pour yourself a glass of wine, or perhaps a scotch, and get to work! And then give me a call and we can begin planning for the spring market.