Selling a Home in the Fall
Often, buyers looking for a home at this time of year are relocating because of job change and want to get settled before the holidays. Plus, because there are typically fewer homes for sale in the fall, buyers know they need to make a competitive offer quickly if they want to be successful. All this is good news for home sellers…if you know how best to price, position and market your home.
In most real estate markets around the country, the advantage goes to sellers. With home loan interest rates still historically low, and still far too few homes for sale in many areas, sellers can often command high prices and preferred terms.
However, many sellers have grown too emboldened and are now making the mistake of over-pricing their property. Price your home too high, and you risk alienating your most likely buyers, or not being seen by them altogether. Overpriced homes can also be seen as poor value by agents and buyers qualified for the higher price, and lose valuable time on the market.
Improving your home’s curb appeal can significantly elevate its perceived value. Consider these three changes:
- Focus on the entry – Your front door, and everything surrounding it, makes a big first impression on potential buyers(when they view photos online, and when they arrive in person). Ideas for improvement include: replacing dated railings; repairing loose steps; repainting the steps and porch; buying a new door mat; updating the address numbers; putting out potted flowers; replacing the mail box and/or porch light; even replacing your whole front door with something more modern, attractive and/or secure.
- Give your landscape a makeover – Few landscapes have the right balance of greenery. With many, mature plantings have grown so large that they hide much of the house; other yards have so few trees and shrubs that the property looks stark and staid. Hire a professional landscaper to give your hard true symmetry. And, while they’re at it, ask them to intersperse some colorful plants, as well.
- Less-obstructive fencing – If there’s a full-height solid fence between your home and the street, consider removing it, removing select sections, or replacing it with one that’s lower.
The open house is your opportunity to make real estate agents and prospective buyers fall in love with your home. To make the best impression, focus on the following:
- A cleaning blitz – A top-to-bottom cleaning of everything should be your priority before an open house because, in the eyes of those who tour it, a clean house is a well-maintained house.
- Swap something old for something new – Installing a modern, digital thermostat is an easy way to give your old heating system a new-and-improved look. Swapping an old toilet seat for one that’s shiny and new can make the who bathroom look better.
- Lots of light – Open all the window coverings and consider installing new light fixtures. But think twice before simply installing a brighter bulb in an existing light fixture as harsh lighting can also be a negative.
- Explanatory notes – You can’t be there to point out all the best features of your house to everyone who tours it, but you can strategically place note cares with messages like “New bathroom fan is very powerful and quiet” or “Built-in entertainment system to remain with the home.”
As an added bonus, we’re also going to touch base on safety around the home before you start handing out those Halloween sweets to trick-or-treaters.
- Lighting is key – The pathways leading to your front door should all be well-lit. Inexpensive, solar-powered walkway lighting kits are available online and at your preferred home-improvement store.
- Electrical matters – Use electrical equipment specifically designed to withstand wet weather; avoid overloading outlets (ask a neighbor if you need more places to connect cords); make sure extension cords don’t pose a tripping hazard.
- Clear the porch – Pumpkins sitting on the porch or front stairs can be a dangerous tripping hazard. Move these and any other decorations away from the walkway before the youngsters start visiting.
- Keep your pets contained – For their safety and that of visitors, keep your pets in a separate room while you’re greeting trick-or-treaters at your front door.
- Make quick work of any shenanigans – If you become the target of a Halloween night prank, clean up the mess as soon as possible to keep visitors safe and minimize work. It’s much easier to clean up things like soda, eggs, toilet paper and graffiti before they’ve been sitting too long.
Source: Windermere October Home Update
With Winter fast approaching, there are a few maintenance and safety tasks every homeowner should tackle:
- Protect wood floors and carpet: Place a floor mat and/or boot-scrapper just inside the main entries to keep water and mud from being tracked onto expensive and easily damaged floorings and rugs.
- Seal cold-air gaps: Air gaps around windows and doors make it harder, and more expensive, to keep your house warm.
- Clean the gutters: Now that the trees have lost most of their leaves, give the gutters a thorough cleaning before they heavy rains arrive.
- Check your detectors: During the winter months, there’s a sharp increase in carbon monoxide poisoning and home-heating fires. To protect your family, make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are less than 10 years old and have fully charged batteries.
- Revisit your emergency supplies: According to FEMA, every home should have enough food, water and medicine on hand to last for two weeks in case of an earthquake, major storm or other natural disaster.
Another winter maintenance to consider is Holiday Lights Safety. Wrapping the house and yard with lights is a beautiful holiday tradition, but it needs to be done with care to ensure there are no accidents.
Here are five tips from professional lighting designers:
- Enlist a helper to hold light strings, steady ladders and more.
- To avoid shocks: don’t work when it’s raining; use a fiberglass ladder and wood poles; wear gloves and rubber-soled shoes.
- All lights should be plugged into a legitimate outdoor outlet with a built-in GFCI circuit breaker. A 15-amp circuit can handle a maximum of 1,800 total watts; a 20-amp circuit can handle 2,400 watts.
- There are special clips available for hanging lights on just about any surface, so avoid staples, nails and screws. for rough surfaces (like concrete and brick), try using hot glue.
- Put all the lights on timers to ensure they’re safely turned off at the end of each night.
Source: Windermere Real Estate November Home Update.