You Should Do Now If You Plan On Selling This Fall
Home sales during the fall are traditionally a bit slower than the
frenzied spring and summer months. But fall can be a good time to sell
because there are (usually) fewer houses on the market - meaning less
competition - and buyers typically want to buy quickly before winter and
the holidays set in.
"Homes that are in the more sought-after areas, in good condition and
priced well tend to sell very quickly for full or near full price," said
Leanne Valdes, a Realtor in Plantation, Fla.
And this fall could signal the continuation of many sellers' markets
throughout the country as interest rates slowly creep up and the fear of
additional increases looms.
Home buying activity has also been spurred by the fear of many potential
homebuyers that this may be the last time they see interest rates this low for some time to come.
If you plan on selling this fall, you'll want to do everything in your
power to attract would-be homebuyers.
One of the first things you should do is examine, and if needed, repair
any major structural systems. If you're unaware of any, you may want to
hire a professional home inspector. Chances are a potential buyer will
hire an inspector to examine the house, so you might as well save yourself
any surprises down the road.
The American Society of Home Inspectors says a typical home inspection
includes drainage conditions, exterior surfaces, decks, chimney, the roof,
windows, doors, plumbing fixtures, furnace, air conditioner, insulation,
ventilation, electrical, heating, and plumbing systems.
Once that's done, you should make you don't have any loose shingles.
Repair and paint your gutters, if needed. Once the structural systems are
repaired or given the thumbs-up, then you should turn to appearance.
And when it comes to looks, if you're selling in the fall, there are many
things to consider, including:
Curb appeal. In other words, the way your house looks from the street -
the roof's condition, how the paint is holding up, whether the windows are
sparkling, the lawn is mowed, the landscape is attractive and not buried
beneath a peppering of fall leaves, and the driveway and walkways are free
from toys and clutter.
Entering the house. Your front door should be in good condition. Usually
when the real estate professional is busy retrieving the key from the lock
box, the potential buyers are standing by with nothing else to look at but
the front door. Does it need painting or staining? Also, new hardware will
make it stand out, and why not adorn it with a seasonal fall wreath?
Once inside your house, the two things that immediately turn off
prospective buyers are dingy walls and dirty, ill-colored, outdated, or
shabby carpet. Sometimes it's hard to be objective about the condition of
your own house because you see it every day, so ask a friend, neighbor, or
your real estate agent to give it a look and give you their honest
opinion. Fresh paint can do wonders. Keep the colors neutral. And while
you can offer buyers a carpet allowance to compensate for bad carpet,
replacing it before selling really boosts that first impression and makes
the house more appealing and worth more in the buyer's mind.
Clear the clutter. If you have too much furniture, put some of it in
storage. Fewer pieces of furniture will make the room seem larger and more
open. Also, clear counters in the kitchen and bathrooms. Make sure closets
are clean. Pack up some of your clothes now. Fewer hanging clothes in the
closet will make the closet appear bigger.
Talk to the professionals. Now's also a good time to interview real estate
professionals. Ask about their experience, find out how well they know the
area you're eyeing, and talk to references. Once you have someone lined up
you can follow his or her additional recommendations and begin the final
phases of preparation before your house goes on the market.
Finally, you should be mindful of setting a competitive price. Many agents
will begin by conducting a competitive market analysis of your house and
give you an estimate of the fair market value of your home, which is a
range that will fluctuate depending on the housing market in your area and
how much similar homes in your neighborhood are selling for.
Don't insist on setting the price too high, especially if you're on a
timeline. A house priced appropriately will be taken more seriously and
will ultimately sell more quickly than one that's overpriced.