Spring brings out home buyers en masse. But in these waning days of winter, many home sellers are still hibernating. Well, it’s time to wake up! Although technically the peak home-buying period is still a few months away, the time to get your home in shape to sell is right now.
“Put in the prep work before the season starts,” says Peggy Yee, supervising broker at Frankly Realtors in Vienna, VA. If you dillydally, you risk having to scramble to get your house ready to list. Even though it’s a seller’s market in many parts of the country, you still need to bring your A-game if you want to get the most value out of your home.
Moreover, “you want your home to be ready to list at the start of the spring home-buying season,” says Lisa Cahill, co-owner of Evolve Real Estate in St. Petersburg, FL. “If you hold off on getting the process started, you may not be ready to put your home on the market until the late side.”
So what can you be doing now?
1. Find an experienced listing agent
Before you start making repairs or updates to your home, you’ll want to enlist an expert who can guide you through the process; otherwise you could wind up wasting cash on things that don’t improve your home’s sales value.
2. Spread the word
By finding an agent early on, that person can then start marketing your home simply through word of mouth to other agents, letting them know that your house will be listed in the spring. Doing so creates buzz around your listing—and may even lead you to capture a serious home buyer before your home hits the market.
Plus, you can do some early marketing, too—by telling your friends and family that you’re hoping to sell. Go ahead and post some pics on Facebook and see what happens! Maybe your own social network will deliver a buyer right to your door.
3. When making repairs, focus on the interior
Curb appeal is important, but it doesn’t make sense to do exterior repairs until bad weather is over.
Instead, use that time to make updates to your home’s interior based on your real estate agent’s recommendations. Go room to room with your agent and create a list of things you need to fix. Even small repairs, like fixing chipped paint or replacing a leaky faucet, are good to get out of the way during the winter. Also, “when you repair surface issues, buyers are less concerned about finding major problems with the home,” says Cahill.
It’s also a good idea to have your HVAC appliances serviced by a professional now—“that way you can tell buyers that you’ve checked the system and everything is running well,” says Yee.
4.Dig into decluttering
Clutter can be a huge turnoff to prospective buyers. But even for nonhoarders, a thorough decluttering can take months, says Yee.
“Getting rid of your stuff always takes longer than you think,” she adds. “Even decluttering just one room each week starting today will reduce stress later on.”
Depending on how many personal items you choose to keep (donate or sell the ones you don’t, instead of schlepping them to your next home), it may make sense to rent a storage unit for a couple of months.
5. Consider professional home staging
Over a third of real estate agents stage their listings, and the payoff can be substantial: On average, staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more than non-staged ones. If your agent doesn’t offer staging services, ask for a recommendation.
Realtor.com | Daniel Bortz | Feb 16, 2017