Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Are You Ready For Spring Market?

Spring market is almost here.  Are you ready to put your house on the market?  Depending on how much work needs to be done, it could take anywhere from two weeks to eight weeks to prepare your home.  Buyers are looking for homes that look great and need little to no work.  So what should you focus on first?

Safety and Maintenance

If your house isn't safe or it has a lot of issues that need fixing, then you're never going to make it past the building inspection.  Additionally, repairing some of these issues can take time and money.  So these should be the first things you tackle.  At the very least check each of these things and make sure they are in good working order or pose no problems:

  • Smoke detectors:  Make sure you have the proper number for each floor of your home.  Batteries should be fresh and they should all be in working order
  • Water issues:  Check all pipes and investigate any water stains.  Check for mold anywhere you suspect water has been an issue.
  • Electrical wiring:  Check all outlets and light switches to make sure they work.  Make sure your wiring is adequate for your house.  Make sure there are no overloaded breakers.
  • Grading/sloping issues:  If water runs toward your house during a rain event, you'll want to fix this grading problem right away.
  • Roofing issues:  If you have curling or cupping of any shingles this means water intrusion is going to happen sooner rather than later.  Buyers will ask for an allowance anyway, so you may want to fix it before it even goes on market.
  • Insulation:  Be sure your home has the proper amount of insulation and ventilation.
  • Heating/Cooling:  Make sure these are in working order and properly maintained.  If very old, consider replacing.

Your best bet is to pay to have your own home inspection done so that you can address any issues before you put your house on the market.  Be sure to walk along with the inspector so that you can discuss any potential problems he/she finds.

Declutter and Organize


The next step in getting your house ready for Spring Market is to do a thorough search through your home and remove any unnecessary clutter and  organize all your spaces so that they look clean and are easy to maintain.  

Since you are planning to move anyway, this is a great time to start packing away anything that you won't be needing in the next few months.  Consider it pre-packing for the move.  Label everything very well and place all your boxes in storage but keep them accessible in case you find you do need to find something.

Remember to put away these items:
  • Winter clothes (you won't need them for several months anyway)
  • Most or all of your personal decorations like family photos, mementos, etc.  
  • Extra tables, chairs, ottomans, etc.  The idea is to create space and keep each room very simple.
  • Anything in closets that isn't essential to everyday living.  You want your closets to look very spacious.
  • Kids toys and extra furniture.  They'll be super thrilled when they seem new again after your move.

Once your clutter is gone, organize each space so that you can easily put everything away at a moment's notice.  This will also give the impression that the space is clean and well maintained.  The idea is to make your home look sort of like a very fancy hotel.  Give just enough information to inform what the space is, but make it look tasteful and fairly generic.

Clean and Spruce


Once all the extra stuff is gone, it will be much easier to see what needs cleaning and sprucing up.  Make a list of what to clean and what needs repair for each room in your house.  Treat it like the queen of all spring cleanings!  Clean out that refrigerator.  Wipe down all your cabinets (inside and out).  Get your carpets steam cleaned.  Patch and paint your walls or at the very least wipe them down and remove all scuff marks.  Go after that grout!  Make the windows sparkle!  Dust all your vents and ceiling fans.  Wash your drapes and rugs.  Pressure wash your decks and siding.  Clean all your light fixtures.  Anything you can think of to make your home sparkle.


Go Above And Beyond

If you really want your home to stand out and sell quickly your home has to really shine.  Make sure you have an understanding of what other homes in your area and price range are like so that you can determine how yours compares.  This means if most homes have granite counter tops and top of the line appliances and your doesn't, you either need to install granite counter tops and purchase new appliances or be willing to make your price reflect that you don't have them.  If most homes in your area have wood floors and yours are vinyl, you might want to consider installing new wood floors.


Remember, if your house doesn't stand up to other houses in the area, yours may sit on the market and you'll be forced to reduce your price, maybe more than once.  And many times one price reduction will be more money than what you would have spent upgrading everything in the first place.

Rely On Your Realtor

With all we've said above, understand that your realtor knows all about this stuff and deals with it every single day, multiple times a day.  They are your expert, your first resource.  Follow their guidance and you will get the results you desire.

Source:  Michelle Schwake for Stafford Family Realtors

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