According to Realtor.com’s fourth annual “The Best Time to List” report, experts are predicting the best week to list your home for sale is April 10-16, 2022. There are several reasons for this, mostly based on last year’s trends such as increased buyer demand, higher asking prices then versus at the beginning of the year, low market inventory, and move-out dates aligning with the end of the school year.
That said, if you’re planning on selling your home soon, it’s time to take an honest look at your home from a buyer’s perspective and tend to any cosmetic fixes, necessary repairs, and clutter around the house—and property. So what kinds of things should be addressed?
To get a sense of what needs to be done, head outside to the street and take a look at your house as if it were the first time you’ve seen it. What do you see? Are there branches and debris in the yard? Are there screens missing from some of the windows or are any of them torn? What about the condition of your gutters? Can you see any roof shingles missing? Begin writing a list of things that need to be done, noting whether or not you can do them yourself or if you need to hire someone to do the work for you.
WANDER AROUND THE YARD
Take a walk around the property looking for areas that need to be cleaned up. Keep an eye out for downed branches and trees that may need to be trimmed. This includes any bushes or shrubs. Are there toys in the yard that can be neatly tucked away in a storage shed? If you have a pool, what condition is the cover in? Are there any broken-down vehicles, equipment, or machinery lying around? You’ll want to assess what you’re seeing with a critical eye, looking for intentional ways to neaten and organize your property.
Enter your home using the same entrance a buyer would. Notice the condition of the concrete, decking, or ground leading up to the door. Are there overgrown plants keeping the path from looking neat and defined? What about the condition of the doors and windows of the house? Are any of them lacking paint or weatherstripping? The majority of buyers are looking for move-in-ready homes and would be turned off by having to do any work to make it ready to move in.
A DISCERNING EYE
As you walk through the house, are you able to really see the house or are the contents distracting you? Are the walls blocked by furniture and belongings? Buyers can picture themselves living in the house when there are fewer items to look past. Consider paring down your belongings temporarily by moving some items out to a friend’s basement or into a storage unit until you move out of the house. The condition of the house can be seen more easily with fewer items in each room. This includes visibility of the flooring.
Potential buyers will ask about the age of your appliances and if there have been any repairs to them. Hopefully, you’ve kept great records on that and will be ready to share that information on the Seller’s Disclosure Notice. The more information you can provide, the more comfortable a buyer will feel making an offer on your home. This includes any history you can provide on things like pest control or any pest issues, any water damage and related repairs and warranties you may have on the appliances including the HVAC system.
A well-cared-for home looks and smells clean. Make sure you clean those “extra” things like baseboards, window trim and molding, and ceiling fan blades. And don’t forget hidden spots such as the oven, closets, and basement storage areas you may not visit often. This may also include touching up baseboards, doors, cabinets, and any other frequently-used surfaces that show usage and/or damage over time. Remember, buyers don’t want to have to lift a finger on their potential next home.
MAKE IT WELCOMING
Before showing your home to prospective buyers, you’ll want to remove any personalized items such as family photos, things with monograms or names, and belongings. This will make it easier for the buyer to imagine themselves living in the house. Consider setting out a new “Welcome” mat, a Spring wreath on the door, and fresh towels in the kitchen and bath. Create an inviting space that welcomes guests and makes buyers not want to leave.
DON’T FORGET PETS
If you have a pet, you’ll want to make sure the house doesn’t reflect that in any way during a showing. Before having buyers over, check to make sure all surfaces are clean and void of any kind of odor. Also look for animal hair on the carpet and upholstery, cat litter where it shouldn’t be, and any damage caused by your pet. This can signal issues to a buyer, especially if they don’t have a pet and may not understand what comes with the territory. You’ll also want to make sure little Sparky is off the premises during showings so he/she doesn’t distract buyers especially if they have pet allergies.
If you’re planning on listing your home soon, approach your property and home with fresh eyes to identify what needs cleaning, repaired, moved out, or changed. Consider asking a family member to do it for you as well as they may not see what you see and can easily identify what needs to be addressed. If you can see your home through the eyes of a buyer, you’ll increase the appeal and hopefully get an offer quicker.