7 steps to prepare your home for the spring market
Now that the Christmas trees have been taken down and the champagne glasses have returned to the china cabinets, it’s officially the start of a new year. Whether you write down resolutions or not, many people take the new year as an opportunity to get their lives as organized as possible. If you’d like to set yourself up for success in the upcoming spring real estate market, follow the tips below.
1. Declutter and organize— One of the most painful parts about moving is sifting through the years’ worth of accumulated items to discern what should be kept and what should be tossed. Though it can be tedious, getting a head-start on organizing your belongings will spare you stress later. For items you don’t want that are in good shape, donate them to your local charity (we recommend A Wider Circle), and dispose of any unusable or hazardous items. For the items you are keeping, devise a way to organize them that will be the least obtrusive or messy to a potential buyer, especially if you are still living in your home while it’s on the market. For example, make sure all drawers, closets, cabinets, utility rooms, and garages are neat and organized, as buyers will surely be poking around. If you are still living in your home while it is being shown, consider putting your toiletries and other everyday items in caddies that can be easily stashed ahead of a showing.
2. Depersonalize— While you should certainly hang onto family photos and other memorabilia, they should not be displayed while your home is on the market. Buyers should be able to envision themselves living in your home, which can be difficult if a portrait of your grandfather is hanging over the mantle or if your collection of Metallica records are on display. Instead, stick to neutral furnishings and decorations that will appeal to a variety of people.
3. Deep clean inside— Once you are all packed and organized, it is a good idea to deep clean your home. Places to be sure to clean are refrigerators, ovens, stovetops, bathrooms, and anywhere a pet spends its time. Don’t use artificial air fresheners as they can cause potential buyers to think that there is a smell to be covered up. If you are far off from listing, make sure to keep your home maintained and don’t let grime build up. When you are ready to list, consider hiring professional cleaners to ensure everything is spotless and clean.
4. Maintain exterior spaces— If you have a garden plot that is overrun with weeds, it becomes less of a selling point and more of a hassle to future owners. Things like patios, decks, garden beds, and lawns can be great selling points, but mostly if they are properly maintained. Rake leaves, power wash decks, clean up porches and patios, and weed flower beds. If your yard is particularly large, consider hiring a landscaper to spruce up the lot.
5. Make pre-inspection repairs— When a house is better maintained, it usually leads to a higher asking price. A potential buyer will almost certainly hire a home inspector, and any major defects with the home will show up in the inspection report. Make sure that major systems like plumbing, HVAC, and electrical are in working order. Also make note of signs of mold or mildew, damp basements, deteriorated roofs, and interior appliances like smoke detectors. If you find any problems, it is better to address them ahead of time to reduce any surprises and potential repair or credit costs down the road while under contract. While you can opt for a pre-inspection, be aware that you will have to disclose any known defects to potential buyers.
6. Freshen up— To really make a home sparkle and shine, a general contractor and stager can do wonders. Even just replacing old carpet, refinishing hardwood floors, and repainting a house can make a world of difference. A stager will work with you to incorporate items you already own with the staging furniture to make your home visually appealing and show-ready. You only get one first impression, and freshening up your home will be sure to impress potential buyers.
7. Hire a Realtor— A Realtor can offer invaluable insight and guidance in the home preparation process. Take the time to research agents in your area and interview the ones that seem to fit your needs best. Your Realtor can not only offer knowledge of the local real estate market, but can also connect you with the best vendors to do the necessary work on your home. When your home is ready for the market, your Realtor will assess the current condition of the market and work on a strategy to best advertise your home.
Before things thaw out in a few months, now is the perfect opportunity to begin the process of preparing your home for the market. For even more practical knowledge on getting your home ready for the spring and what to expect, connect with the Tamara Kucik Team.