Written by: Emily Sherman
When it comes to real estate, location can be everything, but don’t underestimate the value of good timing, too. Picking the right time to sell your home can make a huge difference in finding the right buyer who is ready to offer a competitive price. According to Zillow, the peak selling season starts in March and continues through the summer. So, if you're thinking about listing your home, now is the time to get prepared.
American Home Shield compiled a list of ways a homeowner can get their house ready for sale, using academic research, news reports, and advice from industry groups.
This might include freshening up the paint, making needed repairs, or updating the landscaping. It's important to present a fresh slate that allows buyers to truly picture themselves living in the home long term.
While projects like decluttering might be tackled over a weekend, painting and other repairs might take some more time and planning. So, the sooner you want to sell, the sooner you should start making changes. In addition, Zillow data found that the market slows down around September, as families begin settling down for the school year, so time is of the essence.
By combining the right timing with the right preparation, you can maximize your chances of making the sale at the time and price you want.
Clearing out clutter is an important first step in preparing your home for house tours and open houses. It's natural to accumulate personal items in your time living there, but if your rooms are stocked full of personal items, photos, and decor, it can be difficult for a buyer to picture themselves in it.
Pared-down rooms with simple or minimal furniture can help spark buyers’ imagination about how they can decorate it in their own style. Plus, decluttering can help make rooms look bigger.
To prep your home for sale, audit your stuff and see if there is anything you can donate or store. Trim down furniture to the necessities, or even consider hiring a staging company to help arrange items in a welcoming way.
Do some landscaping
According to the National Association of Realtors, 97% of its members agree that curb appeal is an important factor in attracting a buyer. Investing in projects like lawn care and landscape maintenance reliably paid off—including by adding value to the home. Standard professional lawn care services, for instance, cost sellers about $415 but resulted in a sale price of about $900 higher.
Don't neglect the outside of your home when you're preparing it for the market. It's the first thing buyers will see when they view the property, so consider the first impression you want to make.
It might seem like a small thing, but a fresh coat of paint can make a big difference in your home's value. In fact, a HomeLight survey of realtors found that painting your home adds an estimated $7,571 in resale value. This includes both an exterior coat to improve curb appeal and a spruce-up indoors for a clean color palette free of scuffs or scrapes.
Whether you want to do it yourself or hire a professional, investing in painting your home is an important step in getting ready to sell.
The National Association of Realtors also reports that 41% of home buyers specifically look to avoid renovations and problems with plumbing or electricity. That means it's critical to make sure your home is in good condition if you want to sell.
Not all repairs will have the same return on investment, so consider what will have the greatest result and what you can accomplish in the time you have. For instance, Zillow data suggests fixing damaged flooring or replacing your windows will yield higher returns than big luxury upgrades.
It might seem obvious but don't forget to add a deep clean to your to-do list before putting your home up for sale. The last thing a buyer wants to see when previewing such a big investment is dingy carpet or stains.
You don't need to worry about making it look like no one has lived there, but you should at least provide your potential buyers with a clean slate so they can visualize moving in. This includes making sure the floors and counters are free of debris, appliances are clean, and furniture is dusted.
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