I don’t typically hold to the notion that one time of year is better for selling your home verses another.
For as long as I’ve been selling real estate I have always had at least one transaction around the Winter holidays, but conventional wisdom says that there is something magical about Spring. As of this writing, there are 64 days until Spring. I have two listing appointments this week with sellers that want to go over what they should do to get their property ready for the Spring market. They’ll be surprised when they find there is a long list of “to dos” to get a house ready for the market.
The first place to start is by cleaning. I don’t the mean the vacuum & dusting kind of cleaning; I mean the scrub the grout with a toothbrush kind of cleaning. I mean you do your best imitation of your crazy Aunt Sadie with the obsessive- compulsive cleaning disorder kind of cleaning.
Some clients opt for hiring a cleaning crew. If you’re going to do that you should de-clutter your house before bringing in a cleaning professional. And if your “To Do” list includes painting, save the professional cleaning for the last item on your list.
So what does the typical seller “to do” list look like?
- Reduce contents of all closets by half. Stuffed closets speak to prospective buyers -- they say “this house doesn’t have enough storage.” This may not be the case; maybe you’re just really bad about getting rid of the excess we all seem to accumulate.
- Neutralize your home: Pre-pack most of your personal items like family photos, your ceramic frog collection and other things that can distract buyers from seeing the house.
- Be prepared to put furniture and other items in storage.
- Fifty percent of the houses I see prior to listing need to be painted – go neutral.
- Clean everything—every nook, cranny, light switch cover, door jamb, door knobs. Everything.
- Do not overlook the utility areas of your home. They should be thoroughly cleaned and organized including the area around the furnace, and water heater.
A super clean and orderly home says “I have been well maintained.” A clean home reduces buyer anxiety.
One of the first things I do for clients after signing a listing agreement is to drop off 100 office-sized boxes to be used to de-clutter, or as we like to call it, pre-packing. A home that is free of clutter makes room for the prospective buyer to mentally picture themselves with their own possessions in that home; which in turn helps to move the buyer from thinking to acting…writing a contract.
The more you can do to clean, organize, neutralize, paint, upgrade, the faster your home will go from being on the market to sold.