Did you know that spring is one of the best selling seasons each year in real estate? That means that selling your house in the spring means you’ll have plenty of competition. On the other hand, your house will very likely spend less time on the market, which means fewer open houses and viewings to schedule your life around, and more time to look forward to your next home.
So make the most of the wintertime, and start getting your home ready now.
1. Research Your Local Market
Since we often only hear about national statistics, it’s easy to form an opinion of the real estate market that doesn’t actually have a lot to do with where you live. Real estate is, of course, largely local.
For instance, if prices are falling in Denver, it doesn’t always mean they’re falling in San Francisco. Wondering how can you research the local real estate market? It’s much easier than you probably think!
First, call a real estate agent. It’s the fastest way to find information about the local real estate market. Agents will have access to detailed market research, and most are pleased to offer this information free of charge. Whenever possible, it’s best to get for a referral by asking your friends and neighbors to recommend someone they know and trust.
If you’re not quite ready to talk to an agent, you can also hop online. Many local Realtor Boards, Multiple Listing Services, and Chamber of Commerce organizations offer their market statistics to the public. And don’t forget seller tools like Trulia and Zillow.
You can also chat with an appraiser, who’s usually hired by a bank to assess the fair market value of real estate—and that means they must stay up-to-date on all the local trends. A polite phone call or email to one or more appraisers requesting guidance about the real estate market will often result in plenty of statistics, or at least a referral to local sources of information.
2. Get a Home Inspection
Consider hiring a professional inspector to take a look around, especially if your home is more than 7 years old. Buyers will have an inspection done after putting in an offer, but if you suspect there may be an issue with your property you’ll save yourself a very unpleasant surprise by discovering it before the buyer does.
Starting now will leave you a comfortable amount of time to complete any necessary renovations before you list your home for sale.
3. Clear Your Clutter
If you’re serious about staging your home, all your clutter must go. It’s not always easy, and it may even require utilizing some temporary offsite storage.
When potential buyers are exploring your home, you want them to imagine plenty of room for their own belongings. And while you probably put lots of effort into decorating your home to reflect your tastes, it may not be the buyer’s’ style.
You’ll need to tone it down for the sake of appealing to the greatest number of people. You can still get ready to bring your personal style back with a vengeance when you get settled in your new home!
4. It’s Time For a Deep Clean
We won’t try to convince you this part is fun! But you will need to either hire someone to deep clean your home, or roll up your own sleeves and get ready to:
- Wash all windows, sills and screens inside and out.
- Clean all light fixtures and light bulbs and replace burnt out bulbs.
- Clean all light switches.
- Clean ceiling fan blades and light.
- Dust cobwebs from the corners of the ceilings.
- Dust the tops of doors, cabinets and all horizontal surfaces.
- Move all furniture to clean under and behind.
- Remove all knick-knacks to clean underneath.
- Polish all furniture.
- Wash all rugs and mats.
- Clean all switch plate covers, doorknobs and telephones.
- Spot clean walls.
- Empty all trash receptacles, clean and disinfect.
- Vacuum lamp shades.
- Vacuum upholstery.
Phew—it’s a little exhausting! But this early spring cleaning will be completely worth it in the end.
5. Rethink Your Wall Color
This past summer, Zillow published a report analyzing the color schemes in close to 50,000 homes sold over a 10-year period, starting in 2006. After taking location, price, size and age of the home into account, the report found that homes with yellow kitchens, often in creamy or wheat yellow colors, yielded the highest sale premium. Walls painted in other earthy tones like sage green or dove gray also made frequent appearances in the top-performing listings.
Dark-colored walls, on the other had, never fared as well—especially colors like slate gray or terra cotta. Interestingly, not having a color in the kitchen at all had a negative impact on a home’s sale price, too. Houses with white or eggshell-colored kitchens also sold below expectations.
The takeaway? Warm neutrals like yellow or light gray appear stylish and clean, making your home look well-cared for. Even subconsciously, this can make your home more appealing to buyers.
With spring being a very busy time for real estate, don’t wait for the flowers to bloom before you start preparing your home for the market. Having a few months to prepare will make for a much smoother selling experience. When it comes to real estate, spring is already in the air—happy selling!