Anyone who knows even a tiny bit about real estate has probably heard that the market slows to a crawl in the fall and is virtually non-existent during the holidays and on through January. The thinking behind that was that families who have school-aged children are settling into their school routines and are not looking to make big changes. Many opt to wait until spring and summer to sell their homes.
But times have changed. No longer do you need to load everyone into the car to look at every home on the market in your price range. The internet and online marketing of homes has made shopping for homes, and weeding out the ones that don't suit you, easy as pie. In fact, consumers can shop with laser focus and can be ready to buy the hour a home goes on the market that meets all their criteria.
Another reason that fall doesn't mean the death of the market is simply that families are not the only ones shopping for a home. Many baby boomers are coming into retirement and are looking to downsize. They do not need to adhere to a school-year schedule. Likewise, millennials can hop into the market at any time as they opt to forego huge rents in favor of owning a home.
And finally, since many do wait for the spring market, putting your home up for sale in the fall means much less competition which could lead to faster selling times for a higher price than you might get in the spring.
Still, selling your home is never a breeze. There is always work that should be done to get your home looking its best. And fall has a few particular challenges that you'll want to be aware of.
Make Your Exterior as Clean and Attractive as Possible
Sure, fall is spectacularly beautiful...for about 3 weeks. The remainder of the fall season is marked by bare trees and shrubs, very few flowering plants, and yellowing grass. Fall tends to be windy as well, which means leaves and debris fly around your yard.
If your home is on the market in the fall, be diligent about keeping it maintained. This may mean raking leaves every other day and occasionally sweeping your driveway and walkways.
Add colorful interest at your main entry. Without overdoing it, decorate for the season your in. Take out wilted and straggly summer flowers and put vibrant mums and gourds in your pots.
Make Your Home Feel Cozy
There's always a chill in the air in autumn. Be sure your home is warm and toasty. Keep your thermostat a few degrees warmer than you normally do. Consider offering slippers for visitors when they need to take their shoes off.
You can also warm up a house by using color. Pops of red, orange and yellow accents can bring a brightness and warmth to your home during dull autumn days. If your home is decorated in mostly cool colors like blues and greys, consider repainting with warmer hues.
Display tasteful fall decorations like a centerpiece for your table. And waft some warm and cozy scents throughout your home like freshly baked bread, apple cinnamon pie, or pumpkin bread. Just a hint is all you need. Don't overwhelm your buyers senses.
Light It Up
Not only do fall days bring gloomy, cloudy weather, but the sun also sets earlier and earlier every day. This means your house needs extra assistance to show it in its best light. During the day, leave lights on throughout the house during showings. Make sure there are no dark and dingy corners.
And in the evenings, turn on your porch light and interior lights toward the front of the house, even when you aren't there. Glowing houses on a chilly night make people want to seek refuge there.
Embrace autumn as a great time to sell your house and you could be in a new home before Christmas.
Source: Michelle Schwake for Stafford Family Realtors