If you happen to be in the market to sell your home this year, you’re in luck. Recently lowered mortgage rates are likely to trigger activity in markets that saw single-family median home prices achieve an 11-year high in 2018, and buyers tend to re-engage in the market when spring arrives.
So what do you need to do to ensure your home sells?
“First impression is everything! Clean away the front door and brush away cobwebs and dirt,” says Katie French, a real estate agent at Coldwell Banker.
A buyer should see a well-groomed front lawn. There should be fresh mulch and flowerbeds. Trees and bushes should be trimmed. Adding pretty flowers in planters by the front door is also helpful. Inside, “cleanliness is key,” says French. “Bathrooms should sparkle, and kitchen appliances should be immaculate.”
One of the most important things as a seller is to create an environment that helps the buyer visualize living in your home. Having an organized and decluttered space that is clean and orderly is paramount to achieve this. Go through every room in the house as if you were ready to move out. Get rid of items that need to go in the trash, store away seasonal clothes, accessories, knickknacks, appliances, and anything else that doesn’t get used regularly. Edit items from rooms to make everything seem minimalistic. Clean light fixtures, ovens, chandeliers, baseboards, fireplaces, windows, and any rooms that may not be cleaned often.
“Keep the decor simple. Think Pottery Barn style with clean lines. White bedding and pillows,” French advises.
If you want to take it a step further, you can paint the interior of your home in the current trend of soft grays and whites. A fresh coat of paint can bring new life to rooms, allowing them to feel more inviting. These mellow colors also help brighten up spaces, making them feel bigger.
Speaking of bright spaces, make sure to check lamps, replace bulbs, add lighting in dark corners, and open all blinds and curtains. Most buyers will be coming to your home during the daytime but on cloudy days you’ll need to have lights on in the house.
“The Internet is where most buyers start their search and the first three photos should give the best impression,” French says.
Have a professional photographer take pictures of your home. Homeowner photos taken with cell phones don’t have the same appeal that professional pictures do. A photographer can enhance and Photoshop pictures if it’s needed. Whether you’re listing a Tudor, Ranch, Victorian, or Dutch Colonial, hiring an experienced realtor is a key piece of the puzzle. A realtor’s ability to navigate unexpected situations could determine whether you lose or keep a buyer. Work with your realtor to come up with a realistic price for your home. Strategically priced homes sell faster. Look at homes that have recently sold in your area and your competition. You don’t want to deter buyers by overpricing your home. If your house is on the market for a long time, it will sell for less.
When you interview agents, inquire about their marketing plans. Roughly 90% of buyers begin their searches online, and having an agent well-versed in social media channels can help your home reach a larger audience.
Maria Ali lives in Avon with her two children and husband. A freelance writer and social media manager, she enjoys writing about food, volunteering at her children’s school, and tennis.