Do you see what’s going on? The leaves are starting to change color. The kids are back in school. Football is back on TV at least 4 days a week. Summer vacations are over and people are settling back into their routines. Most experts would agree this is when the real estate market starts to slow down a bit… Au contraire mon frère! Now is exactly the time the selling season begins.
Much like the NFL has a preseason, home sellers also need a preseason to ensure they are ready to sell and their home is in the best condition it can be. First impressions mean everything so plan ahead to make your home worth top dollar. Here are a few tips to get you well on your way to a successful sale this spring or sooner!
- Jump on the yard work now. Do your fall clean up – weeding, trimming and even fertilizing. Get bulbs planted on time. Budget for fresh bark chips, mulch and any additional plants for early spring as weather allows.
- Along with your front yard, the entry is a major component of your home’s curb appeal. Consider re-staining or painting the front door and any decks or railings. A buyer’s perception of your home (and their emotion toward your home) are usually set before they get through the door. If the perception is not favorable they will be quite critical of any small flaws in the home. Create a clean colorful entry and well-kept yard, and likely the buyers will overlook and discount the flaws because they’re already falling in love.
- Downsize and de-clutter now. If moving is truly your desire, then commit now. Start getting rid of unused items which just take up space. We all have clothes we haven’t worn in 3 years, various gifts we never wanted but can’t part with, boxes and drawers of…stuff. Get rid of it. Sell it. Donate it and take the tax deduction. Re-gift it. Whatever it takes, just do it. Buyers will look in closets and open cabinets. Cluttered and overcrowded spaces build perceptions and perceptions build offers. Offers, like perceptions can be good or bad. Get my drift?
- Make sure your financial house is in order. This should go without saying, but do ensure you know exactly where you stand financially. Speak to your tax advisors and lender about your plans so that you are on solid ground and can proceed with confidence.
- Consider having a professional home inspection done. Your buyer will certainly have one done and it’s not fun to find major surprises which turn into expensive repair requests and price concessions. After any pre-listing home inspection, you’ll receive a report which details items in need of repair or replacement – and wouldn’t it be great to take care of as much of this stuff as possible, before you’re in escrow with a buyer asking for price reductions?
- Gather and list any upgrades, repairs, warranties etc. Having an organized list of these items to present to potential buyers shows the love and pride you have in your home. Buyers will appreciate the care you have placed in the home and the knowledge you have about your home. And it does make an impression on potential buyers… Strong positive impression = strong positive offer.
- Interview and choose your Realtor early. Most Realtors can usually accommodate when people call out of the blue and say they’d like their home to be on the market this weekend, but it’s certainly not ideal. Just like a coach doesn’t show up 10 minutes before the first game, neither should your agent. Ideally your Realtor will be there to help advise and connect you with resources throughout the preseason. They say it takes a village to raise a child. The same can be said for selling a home and with all the connections good Realtors have, your agent could be considered the mayor of that village. The preseason is also the time for your Realtor to be networking and to start a pre-list marketing campaign in order to create a buzz about your home before it actually hits the market on the MLS.
Follow these tips and we suspect you will be a very happy seller with confidence and control in your home sale. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions you may have…or even to list your home!
In case you were wondering, we are That Furrow Crew, John Furrow and Laura Hughes, Realtors with Fred Real Estate Group. Our Crew includes the many contractors and industry associates we work with daily; professional photographers and videographers, home inspectors, title officers, lenders, our clients and customers. It also includes roughly 100 other brokers and staff at Fred Real Estate Group and hundreds of the most productive brokers in Central Oregon. That’s our village, That Furrow Crew.