Despite the lingering snow and ice here on the Vineyard, spring is finally here...and with it comes a surplus of homes being put on the market. Whether it's brand new or returning to the market after a winter hiatus, spring is the time that many sellers want to get their homes out there in time for the busy real estate season here on the island. For sellers, it's important to start getting your home ready long before the snow is gone and the flowers have bloomed.
If you're a prospective seller, here are a few things you can do to prepare for the spring market:
Interview Real Estate Agents
One of the most (if not the most) important thing to do when selling your home is to find a great agent to represent you. If you don't have one already, then get recommendations from friends and interview different agents to find one who will be the best fit for you. A good listing agent should have a great marketing plan, experience, and deep knowledge of the area and market. Don't simply go with the one who tells you they can sell your home at the highest price - choose someone who can present you with a detailed and realistic market analysis to back up their numbers.
Begin Packing and Organizing Your Belongings
There's no way to know for sure how long it will take for your home to sell - it could take a month, or years - and while it may seem crazy to start packing up your stuff before a sale occurs, it's best to be prepared for any outcome.
Clear the Clutter
Prospective buyers are going to want to step into your home and see a place they can visualize living in and making their own. The best way to do that is to create a blank slate. Keep it neat, reduce the amount of clutter you have on shelves and surfaces, and depersonalize as much as you can. The idea is to showcase your home without distracting from it.
For a more detailed explanation, check out our handout: "Clear the Clutter and Sell Your Home"
Make Repairs and Improvements
The last thing anyone wants to do before they sell their home is to dump a bunch of money into it for an extensive renovation; however, there are minor repairs and improvements that can be made to make a home look fresher for potential buyers. Here are a few worthwhile improvements that can be made without spending a fortune:
- Freshen Up Paint, Front Door and Hardware
Applying a coat of paint to walls and trim, or even touching up certain areas, can make a world of difference in the appearance of your home. If painting isn't an option, you can give the walls and trim a thorough cleaning to improve the overall space. It's also a good idea to spruce up your front door, since that's the first thing a buyer will see when they walk in.
- Let the Light in
Buyers want homes to be light and bright, so replace your light bulbs or even add a lamp or two to lighten it up. Also, when your home is being shown make sure all the lights are on and the blinds are open.
- Focus on Bathrooms and Kitchen
The bathrooms and kitchen tend to be a focal point in the homes, and buyers pay attention to whether or not they've been updated. Doing little things like re-grouting the tile on the bathroom floor, or caulking the shower and bathtub, can give a used bathroom a fresher look. Something as simple as a new faucet can also give your bathrooms and kitchen an updated look without breaking the bank.
- Spruce up the Curb Appeal
You want to impress potential buyers as soon as they step onto the property or take a drive by, which means making the outside of your home look as appealing as possible. Make the extra effort to rake leaves, weed the garden, and mow the lawn. Clean and put out your outdoor furniture, and even consider adding some colorful plants to the front of the house.
Check out some of our other tips for buyers and sellers:
National Association of Realtors® (www.realtor.com)
REALTOR® Magazine (Realtormag.Realtor.org)