MONEY TALKS - Now that Punxsutawney Phil has reared his head from his underground burrow and boldly predicted six more weeks of winter weather, a lot of homeowners and homebuyers are asking when the spring housing market will actually begin. Statistically, if we look at Phil’s historical prognostications over the last 131 years, 50% of the time he is 100% correct. Now if I were a betting man I might agree with Phil, but since I am not I decided to reach out to some local realtors to get their opinion on when the spring market actually begins. In essence, the spring market does not begin on a specified date, it begins when the snow is melted. Whenever that may be, here are some tips to get your home ready for sale before the spring market.
Declutter & Organize - Start packing personal items that you will not need for the next few months. Anything that is specific to your family such as photos, religious or cultural items, and heirlooms should be put away as well. You don’t want to have anything in your home that prevents the prospective buyer from picturing themselves in the home. Closets and pantries should be cleaned out and tidied up. Keep in mind that less is more, the less you have in your closets, the bigger they appear!
Move-in-Ready - Nowadays many buyers are too busy with work, kids, and their personal life to think about making home improvements after they buy a property. The more “turn-key” you can make your home, the more appealing it will be to prospective buyers. Painting your interior wall a neutral color is a great way to spruce your home up without breaking the bank. Adding a kitchen backsplash and cabinet hardware to your kitchen and bathrooms is a very cost effective way to rejuvenate your home. Ensure that your furnace and A/C unit has been cleaned and tuned up so it’s running efficiently.
Home Inspection - Spending a few hundred bucks on a home inspection could save you a lot of time and aggravation in the future. A home inspection will make you aware of the potential issues that a buyer might bring up so you can get ahead by prioritizing and fixing the major issues beforehand. The major issues that should be addressed first are the septic, roof, electrical, plumbing, and heating/cooling units. Secondary issues that may not need to be addressed are typically more cosmetic in nature.
Curb Appeal - As is true with many things in life, your home will never get a second chance to make a first impression. Power washing the exterior and/or painting your home is a great was to boost curb appeal. In all likelihood, the first time a buyer sets foot on your property will be from their car onto your driveway. Spending a few hundred dollars to remove cracks by sealing your driveway is a good way to make a lasting first impression. Be sure to trim tree branches and hedges so they are away from the home to keep unwanted critters out. Lastly, be sure your lawn is properly manicured.
Clean & Stage - Do yourself a favor and hire a professional cleaner a few days before your home is ready to hit the market. Having a clean and pleasant smelling home is a great way to welcome buyers into your home. Ask your realtor if your home is staged well. Assuming that your home doesn’t look like the inside of a Pottery Barn catalog, consider hiring a company to stage the high traffic rooms in your home such as the kitchen and living room.
While not even Punxsutawney Phil truly knows when the spring real estate market will begin, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a jump on your competition. Preparing your home so it’s ready to show before spring may give you a leg up on your competition as you will be ready to list the minute the last snowflake has melted. In the meantime, it’s never a bad idea to speak with a realtor to get a comparative market analysis so you have an idea where to price your home.