It is that time of year when flowers begin to bud, birds sing and the sun shines a little brighter. As spring starts to blossom it is also a time when lots of people consider buying a home. If you are in the market to sell your home we have lots of information designed to help you prepare your home for spring selling season. The following spring home selling tips are grouped by topic in order to help you apply this to your own situation.
It may seem obvious, but the best practices used for selling a home during the bustling winter months or the color explosion of the fall months are drastically different from selling a home in the Spring.
Spring Cleaning is Top of the List
Many people take advantage of the better weather and longer days in order to tackle their list of cleaning chores. Listed below are some of the most important parts of your home that need special attention when preparing to sell the property.
·Give a thorough dusting to the lights as well as the actual switches that control the light
·Clean the entire door along with the trim around the door. Then clean the floor, ceiling and the walls.
·Shine up the door knob, on both sides, with appropriate cleaning solution
·With a cleaning cloth or duster, wipe the walls, ceiling, electrical outlets and switches for the lights
·Thoroughly clean each window as well as the surrounding sill
·If the room has carpet, vacuum the entire carpet and then have the carpet steam cleaned
·If the room has hardwood floors, check with the instructions from the manufacturer and clean accordingly
·If the windows have blinds, use a gentle cleaning solution to clean away dust or other dirt from the blinds
·Vacuum and clean any dirty spots on couches, chairs, recliners and ottomans
·Deep clean any and all vanities along with the supporting cabinets
·Organize all objects on and near the sink. Clear out as much clutter as possible
·Deep clean both the outside and inside of the commode. If you are handy with tools, remove the actual commode seat in order to clean around the bolt areas.
·Clean the liner for the shower/tub. It may be necessary to replace the liner
·Deep clean the tub and/or shower.
·Use cleaning solution to clean the mirrors, light switches and the light fixtures
·Deep clean the sink and counter tops. Remove as much clutter from counters as possible
·Go through the refrigerator and clean out any old items. Thoroughly clean the inside of the fridge. Don’t forget to clean the tip top of the fridge too!
·Do the same cleaning for the freezer
·Deep clean the stovetop and the oven. Pay particular attention to the glass section on the oven door
·Wipe down the walls, floors, and ceilings
·Pull out all of the appliances away from the wall and clean
·Clean up any dust or grime along the coils of the refrigerator
·Clean every light
·Clean out the dishwasher and then run a complete cycle without any dishes to ensure cleanliness
Lawn Care and Other Outdoor Ideas
Many people will look at pictures of your home online or drive by the property and take a quick peek. Since the lawn, walkway, front door and shrubs are available for all to see, it is important to make these areas look as good as you can. Developing a good impression with the yard will improve your chances of getting that important showing of the house. Here are just a few ideas to help improve your property’s curb appeal.
Gutters – Clean out all of the gutters. Also, go over each section of the gutter to see if there are any types of leaks. Clear out any debris that may be blocking the downspouts.
Clear away dead leaves – With the end of a long winter, there are bound to be some leaves in the yard. Remove the leaves in order to give the grass time to grow and shine. It will also give any fertilizer a better chance to work.
Trim the lawn, shrubs and low branches – It goes without saying, but now is the time to give the grass a fresh mowing and trim any shrubs. It is also a good idea to cut back any low hanging branches that may obscure a vision of the home from the road.
Clean up the walkway and driveway – If you have a pressure washer, or do not mind renting one, clean the driveway as well as the walkway leading to the front door. Making these areas look fresh and clean will really improve the appeal of the home.
Pay attention to colors – If you wish to plant flowers, use a pattern of colors that complements the exterior of your home. Make the scheme of colors uniform throughout the garden.
Inspect the roof – Make sure there are no missing shingles from the roof. While inspecting the roof, look for signs of potential leaks and have those addressed by a professional contractor. Be sure to know your roofing options as well.
Choosing a Real Estate Agent
Readying yourself and your home for a sale includes choosing a real estate agent. The agent will be responsible for various things throughout the selling process so it is important that you choose wisely. Here are some guidelines for picking an agent.
Listing a Home at the Correct Time
In order to get your home sold during the spring, your agent will need to list it at the correct time. If the home is listed too soon in the spring, there may not be enough interest in your property. Conversely, if the home is listed too late in the season then you may miss your potential buyer.
Picking the Right Price
Choosing the correct sales price takes a bit of work. The real estate agent will need to factor in things like
· Recent home sales in your neighborhood/area
· The similarity of your home with the homes recently sold
· Distinguishing characteristics of your property that make your home more valuable
· Outside variables that affect price (school district, proximity to shopping, condition of roads, crime rate)
It may seem that the best bet would be to price the home a bit high and simply wait for the right buyer to come along and negotiate. However, not all buyers are willing to haggle. It is wiser to consult with your agent and get their input before settling on a price.
What Happens Next?
After you have sold your current home, what happens next? Do you plan to buy another home in the same general area or do you plan to move out of state? Are you depending on the proceeds from the first sale to facilitate the purchase of your next property? If you are in need of a contingency, then you will definitely want to explain this to your agent. Your agent can present a sales contract in such a way that protects your best interests while also moving the sale along.
Projects to Increase Your Home’s Chances of Selling
Most people keep their home up to date and free of any major problems. However, there seems to be a list of small, maintenance items that need repair or replacing for most every home. If you intend to sell your home in the spring, now is the time to undertake those small home projects in order to improve the safety and overall value of the home.
Fixing up the Outside
Vertical Boards – Some people refer to these as fascia boards. They are the boards directly under your gutters that face out towards the street. Since gutters can leak these boards are prone to show signs of decay. Inspect the boards to insure they are all in good shape.
Paint or siding – If you have paint on the exterior of your home, check all of the walls for any cracked paint or peeling paint. If there is siding, look for any pieces of siding that may be out of alignment with the other pieces. Also, keep an eye out for missing pieces of siding.
Windows and Doors – Clean all of the screens on the windows. Repair or replace any damaged screen. If the weather stripping looks in bad shape, go ahead and replace it now. Carefully look over the kick boards of all exterior doors. These boards, located just beneath an exterior door, endure a lot of punishment from weather and foot traffic. Make sure these boards are in good shape.
Deck – Clean off any debris and dirt from the deck. Either paint or stain the entire deck.
Fixing up Inside the Home
Basement – Inspect the floors as well as the walls, keeping an eye out for signs of water. Take appropriate measures, such as applying waterproofing to walls, if necessary. If your home uses a sump pump now is the time to do a test run.
Attic – Check the level of insulation in the attic to see if it is adequate for your climate. Also, make sure there is no moisture in the insulation. You may have to replace sections of the insulation if you find moisture. Check the ventilation to make sure it is not clogged up and allowing moisture build up.
Safety measures – test all batteries for smoke detectors as well as batteries for carbon dioxide alarms. Clean the sensors with a clean cloth.
Sprucing Curb Appeal with Sweat Equity
A lot of small modifications can be made to boost a home's curb appeal by simply applying a bit of sweat equity. While some of these ideas may seem small individually, collectively they can totally change the look and feel of a home.
Take Care of the Wood
If your home has wooden trim, especially near the front entrance, you need to look over the condition of the trim. Check for decay among the boards, peeling paint or cracks in the paint. Repair or replace any problems that you see.
Make the Doorway Look Inviting
Plan on spending significant time with the front door. This area needs to look its best to anyone that happens by your home.
The knobs need to look fresh and clean. You may need to touch up some spots on the door or repaint the entire thing. Consider adding a plant or some flowers either on the door or near it. If you have a large front porch, you may want to place a nice chair or two near the door. The idea is to create a look that is inviting to potential buyers.
Freshen up the Shutters
Shutters are made of either plastic or wood. As such, they are usually easy to remove and easy to paint. Consider either removing the shutters and giving them a good cleaning or simply repaint them.
Improve the Mailbox
Look over your mailbox with an eye for detail. Having a shiny mailbox shows that buyers that you are paying attention to the smallest features. You can either paint your existing box or pick up a new one at a local hardware store. Also, consider painting or replacing the post holding the mailbox if your homeowner covenants will allow it.
Lights, lights, and more lights
You want the home to look just as good at night as it does in the daytime. Check all the exterior light bulbs and replace any that are not working. Consider adding bigger watt bulbs to make the home brighter for folks that happen to look over the home after work. If your home has any floodlights, take a moment to look at the home during nighttime hours. See what the light is showcasing and make sure the home is being seen at its best.