According to Realtor.com, spring is the busiest and best season to sell a home. While a good home can find a buyer any time of year, homeowners might find the buyers’ pool is strongest in spring and into summer. The reasons for that are many, ranging from parents wanting to move when their children are not in school to buyers wanting to move when the weather is most accommodating.
Because spring is such a popular time to sell a home, homeowners who want to put their homes on the market should use winter as an opportunity to prepare their homes for the prying eyes of prospective buyers. The following tips can help homeowners during the pre-selling preparation process.
1. Address the exterior of the home.
Winter can be harsh on a home’s exterior, so as winter winds down, homeowners who want to sell their homes should make an effort to address anything that might negatively affect their homes’ curb appeal. A study of homes in Greenville, S.C., from researchers at Clemson University found that the value of homes with landscapes that were upgraded from “good” to “excellent” increased by 6 to 7 percent. If it’s in the budget, hire professional landscapers to fix any problematic landscaping or address any issues that arose during the winter. Homeowners with green thumbs can tackle such projects on their own, but hiring professionals is akin to staging inside the home.
2. Conquer interior clutter.
Clutter has a way of accumulating over the winter, when people tend to spend more time indoors than they do throughout the rest of the year. Homeowners who want to put their homes on the market in spring won’t have the luxury of waiting until spring to do their “spring” cleaning, so start clearing any clutter out in winter, even resolving to make an effort to prevent its accumulation throughout winter. Just like buyers are impressed by curb appeal, they are turned off by clutter. The Appraisal Institute suggests homeowners clear clutter out of their homes before appraisers visit, and the same approach can be applied to open houses. Buyers, like appraisers, see cluttered homes as less valuable. In addition, a home full of clutter might give buyers the impression, true or not, that the home was not well maintained.
3. Eliminate odors.
A home’s inhabitants grow accustomed to odors that might be circulating throughout the house. Pet odor, for instance, might not be as strong to a home’s residents as it is to guests and prospective buyers. Because windows tend to stay closed throughout the winter, interior odors can be even stronger come late-winter than they are during the rest of the year. A thorough cleaning of the house, including vacuuming and removal of any pet hair that accumulated over the winter, can help to remove odor. In the weeks leading up to the open house, bathe pets more frequently, using a shampoo that promotes healthy skin so pet dander is not as prevalent. Open windows when the weather allows so more fresh air comes into the home.