Spring is rapidly approaching, so expect to see crocus flowers, daffodils, irises and tulips popping up in landscapes everywhere as the days grow longer and the sun grows warmer.
You can also expect another regular signal of spring to start appearing in your neighborhood yards pretty soon: “For Sale” signs.
Every spring, the real estate market tends to explode with new listings because it’s the perfect time for house hunting and house moving. The major winter holidays are past, the bad weather is mostly behind us, but the heat of summer has yet to start.
If you’re ready to sell your home, here’s a quick guide that can help you get a step ahead of the crowd.
1. Finish Your Spring Cleaning
Okay, few people really enjoy spring cleaning, so you’re forgiven if you haven’t tackled your annual list of chores. If you’re hoping to sell your home, however, it’s time to put yourself on a schedule.
Decluttering is the first step (and one that you’ll be glad you took once the real cleaning starts), but you need to do a deep clean in your house before you show it to prospective buyers. Clean, orderly homes convey a sense of calm, and they naturally make people want to stick around — which can help you make a sale.
A deep clean also conveys the automatic sense that you have cared for your property, rather than let things get run-down. Consciously or subconsciously, buyers connect a clean home with a lack of problems.
2. Depersonalize Your Home
Decluttering and deep cleaning can help you clear out a lot of excess “stuff” that’s been taking up space in your home, but you need to go a step further when you’re getting ready to sell. It’s time to depersonalize.
Get some boxes and consider renting a storage unit so that you can gradually move your things out of the house as you pack them up. Not only will this help open up the spaces in your home and make it feel roomier, but it will also shorten the effort you need to make once the home is sold and it’s time to move. To depersonalize:
- Remove family portraits, personal photos and pet photos.
- Pack up the diplomas, awards, certificates and trophies.
- Put any “collections” in storage (whether sports, figurines, dolls or any other type of item that you normally showcase, no matter how beloved).
- Remove anything that may be socially or politically controversial (you want the buyer to be conscious of your house, not your beliefs), including artwork.
- Pull everything out of your bathroom except for a few decorative items, and stow only what you absolutely need in a container under the sink.
- Put away as many toys as possible (keeping a box or two of the favorites that can be quickly picked up and tucked in an unobtrusive spot during showings).
You want your prospective buyers to see themselves living in your home — and that’s hard to do when a home is full of family photos and mementos from other people’s lives. If your home feels positively Spartan in appearance to you when you’re done, you’ve done it right.
3. Do Minor Repairs and Updates
This isn’t the best time to think about big renovations because you’re only likely to recoup a fraction of your cost in a sale. This is, however, a great time to do any household repairs you’ve been putting off or minor (meaning: inexpensive) updates that will improve your home’s appearance and saleability.
Once your home is clean and depersonalized, walk through it as if you were the buyer. Are those old outlet covers going yellow with age? Replace them. Does the fire alarm need to be updated? Do it. Should you really repaint the bathroom walls? If you’re asking the question, probably.
In general, a fresh coat of paint on the walls of your home is never a bad idea, especially if your personal color choices tend to run bold. “Relocation beige” or any neutral color is ideal for the majority of the walls in your home when you’re trying to entice buyers because it’s easy for them to match to their decor — or paint over.
4. Tend to Your Landscaping
Curb appeal is a big part of any home sale. In fact, since it’s all passers-by can see of your property, it may be the number one thing that makes someone decide to look closer at your listing when they’re driving around and looking at different homes.
Your landscaping has probably taken a bit of a beating over winter, so it’s time to be ruthless: Prune the bushes, yank the weeds, cut away dead branches on trees and yank out any plants that don’t look like they’ve survived the winter.
When you’re done with that part of the job, go back and add a thick coat of mulch to all your flower beds and look for bare spots where you may need to add a plant or two. Make sure that the yard itself is properly trimmed and edged around the walks.
If the work seems overwhelming, it may be time to call in a pro. What you spend on their services is worth it in terms of the time (and labor) you’ll save — and you can concentrate on other things.
If you’re still not sure how to prep your home for a spring sale, it never hurts to speak with a real estate agent early. You can pick up some invaluable tips and make use of their experience to make your home sale smooth sailing all the way!