Don’t wait for Spring to Sell Your Home
The holidays are over and it’s time to think about what needs to be done now to put the house on the market this Spring. We have a very seasonal market here in the Triangle Area of NC but don’t wait until March or April to list your house. Buyers are out and looking in February and listing your house in February will give you an advantage over those who wait. So get your house ready to sell now!
If you have been watching HGTV you may already have your home ready to go. Buyers have been watching too and want a pinterest perfect updated home. There are things you can do to make a dated home look fresh.
I have some printed room by room house selling checklists if you are the checklist loving type of person. Download them here.
You may want to join Angies List for specials and suggestions for contractors. My clients have generally had good experiences.
Start with photos
The way I usually start when I am preparing to put a house on the market is to walk through and make notes and take a lot of photos. Inside and outside.
It’s really about the photos these days. When buyers are looking for a new home they start early looking at listings on line. The better the quality and the more photos the more likely your home will catch their eye, be shown and sell.
So that’s where I start. The photos show me what needs to go in (and out of) a room and where furniture needs to rearranged to make the best presentation possible. Our eyes will fool us that the rooms look good when there is still a lot more work to be done.
I almost always recommend having the outside of the home and deck power washed, screens removed and the windows washed. Sparkling windows bring light inside and give the house a new feeling. Paint the house if it needs it. It will look well cared for and you will get a higher price.
It’s a good idea to give the deck a coat of semi-transparent stain in a light neutral wood color. Sherwin Williams Banyan Brown SW3522 is good. Only one coat though so it looks natural. Painters often will say it needs two-don’t do it! You want the deck to look new and natural not painted because it’s old.
Trim the bushes and add flowers and fresh mulch to the beds. (in that order, you’ll mess up the mulch with soil if you plant later).
Don’t skimp on the mulch. If you are a do it yourselfer you can order a load of mulch delivered for $150-$200. Spread it thick.
Paint or re-stain the front door and buy a couple of pots for each side of the front door. Plant a green arborvitae or spruce pine in each and plant pansies around the base of the plant. Buy a new door mat. I like the rubber mats that look like wrought iron. They don’t get wet or shed and look great.
Put new cushions on the porch furniture. Even if it’s cold and wet outside stage your deck and screened porch for the photos.
If you have a lawn service make sure they do the spring maintenance as early as possible. You want the greenest grass in the neighborhood when the house goes on the market.
Then take some outside photos and see what you’ve missed. Make those adjustments.
I basically do the same thing. Get out all of the clutter. Rent a storage unit and buy lots of plastic tubs.Only keep out a few of the kids toys and books (the ones that are colorful and look new). Remember your house is a product for sale. Make the kids rooms look like a magazine.
Have a deep cleaning. Baseboards, cabinets, closets. Paint any rooms and trim that look tired. It’s worth it, you’ll get your money back with a higher price and quick sale.
Buyers love hardwoods so take up your rugs and carpets and let the floors shine.
You can get your bathroom grout refinished. Your bathroom may not be updated but it will look clean and a buyer will think “I can live with that for a while”.
I’m sure you have heard that’s it’s important to neutralize and that’s true to a point. You don’t want plain vanilla though because you need a bright focal point of color in each room for the photos. A bowl of green apples in the kitchen with a few other green accessories to tie it together (or red apples or oranges etc) just one color in each room. A few throw pillows on the bed with towels in the same color in the bath. Same with soaps and other accessories. Buy for the color and think how it will look in the all important photos online.
After you think it looks great take more photos and see what you’ve missed.
The Professional Photographer
Now you have seen the photos and the final touches are perfect. It’s time for the professional photographer. You want your rooms photographed. Pinterest perfect. Buyers are scrolling through houses online and they pick the houses they want to see based on the photos. Photos have to be great to give you the competitive advantage. If you don’t get the most showings you won’t get the opportunities for a high priced sale.
I like video and think it is an essential addition to the marketing plan. It’s a second tier to the photos though. It all starts with the photos. The photos will be the basis for the homes web site, brochures, MLS data feed, national real estate sites and postcards. When you shoot your video don’t just walk through and give a tour. Pick out some of the great features of the home and demonstrate them so your video is a compliment to the photos.
There are many components for marketing your home including a good Realtor to get the buzz going 🙂