Most folks seem to want to sell their homes during the summer, kids are out of school, and it seems a natural to relocate while the sun shines brightly, the lines that defined the summer “selling season” have been blurred with new arrivals from out of state, some year round schools, charter schools where it doesn’t matter where you live, and all that fun and travel during the summer pushing a move to the “I’ll get to it later pile”. So, with it being more of a seller’s market lately, fall is also a great time to put your home on the market.
Now, if you’re planning on selling your home in fall, we have put together some tips to help you get started. And, by the way, now is the best time to start, seeing that next month is the beginning of fall.
Selling your home in fall means choosing your real estate agent now
Now, we know that seems somewhat self-serving because of course we would love you to choose us, but trust us there is method to our madness. Think about the appearance of the exterior of your home in fall. Leaves change color and begin falling from trees, the lawn may begin going dormant and, if temperatures dip, those colorful summer annuals lose their charm.
When homebuyers are perusing the MLS for homes to view in person, they view the home’s photo first. (If you have read us at all, you Know how we feel about Curb Appeal). If what these potential buyers see isn’t compelling, they’ll click to the next home on their list. So, if you wait until fall to choose your real estate agent, your home will look like all the others – with leaf-covered or brown lawns, no color in the planting beds and twiggy trees.
If you hire us right away (see that subtle commercial…we’re getting better, right?), you can request that the exterior photos be taken now, while the home’s curb appeal is at its most attractive. Come fall, when you put the home on the market, the photos of your home will stand out from all the others, impressing buyers enough to want to view it in person.
Selling your home in fall means getting maintenance out of the way
Consider having the HVAC system serviced. Summer is rough on the system and dust and dirt can accumulate around the outdoor components, restricting air flow during fall and winter. The lack of fresh air circulating in the home during showings can become a deal killer. And just because it’s fall, doesn’t mean we still don’t have those occasional HOT days!
Get the gutters cleaned out now to avoid problems during a rainy day showing. While you’re up there, look for holes and check the connections. If you get these small repairs out of the way now, you avoid having to do them during messy weather.
Autumn is all about getting cozy and nothing helps you get there better than a fire in the fireplace. Now, we don’t advocate leaving a fire in the fireplace…cause that would be wrong,
so the next best thing is to make the fireplace a focal point for showings. Clean the glass doors, clear out accumulated ashes (well not if it’s a gas fireplace, then you can skip this step…and those of you who have grown up with gas fireplaces may not even know what I’m talking about anyway) and, if it’s been awhile, consider hiring a chimney sweep…course that is assuming you have a chimney…see previous remark about gas fireplaces.
Selling your home in fall means staging your home for autumn buyers
The most important thing you can do when you’re considering how to stage the home in any season is to bring in as much light as possible. When selling your home in fall, it’s even more important to let in the light since days get shorter, and home interiors become darker, earlier. Yes, leaving the curtains open helps, but you may want to consider beefing up the interior lighting of the home as well.
Buy new lamps for dark corners and add brighter bulbs to fixtures that could use them. Then, leave the lights on (yes, all of them) before leaving for work in the morning on days you expect showings.
As you look for ways to stage the home, remember the fireplace-as-a-focal-point idea. Arrange the furniture so that it faces the fireplace and then dress the mantel (subtly) in an autumn theme. Use cozy throws on the sofa or chairs to further promote the idea of warmth and comfort.
Selling your home in fall means curb appeal still matters
Probably the most challenging aspect of selling your home in fall is keeping your yard free of plant debris. As we get closer to the time you’ll be putting the home on the market, rake the landscaping as needed and keep it up consistently during the showing period.
Consider planting some fall color as well, such as rust-colored and yellow mums. Plant them in pots that line the walkway or are clustered attractively on the porch, so that pop of color will catch buyers’ eyes.
Think about leaving the grilling equipment and patio furniture outdoors just a smidge (a smidge is a bit longer than a pinch but less than a whole lot) longer than usual so that you can stage the deck or patio to appeal to buyers. Give the furniture a good cleaning and then arrange it tastefully so that buyers can picture themselves entertaining in that spot.
Finally, organize the garage. Sure, you don’t read much about staging garages, but sometimes it’s important to buyers (especially husbands who love their garages) as staging the other areas of your home. If you use yours for storage, start with decluttering it, purge items you no longer use or need and then organize what’s left.
Selling your home in fall is different than summer selling
So,toss all the information you’ve collected on summer home sales because selling your home in fall is a somewhat different process. Thankfully, we are still experiencing a seller’s market so along with the advantages inherent in this type of market, you’ll have even less competition from other sellers than you would have if you’d decided to sell in summer.
If you are considering selling your home this fall, or any time for that matter, contact us and we’ll give you our recommendations on how to price your home based on current conditions and we’ll get those all-important exterior photos taken now.