Put down the pumpkin spice latte and get to work on prepping your home for sale
While the spring and summer are prime times for home sales, there are a few surefire ways to make your home stand out in the fall. Many motivated buyers want to start the new year off with a fresh start in a new home. For those house hunters, fall is a prime open house time. Here are five tips for selling your house before the last leaf of autumn falls.
1. List Before the Cold Weather Arrives
In some parts of the country, there are only a few days of crisp fall weather before the temperature drops, and it feels like winter. It’s enough to make even the most motivated homebuyers want to stay home instead of venturing out to house hunt. Unless you’re in a location where the weather is warm all year round, you’re going to want to list your home before the cold weather arrives. Sure, you can’t control Mother Nature’s whims, but you can make sure your listing is live by the end of September so you can have more time to attract buyers during sweater weather.
2. Make Yard Work a Priority
The vibrant colors of fall foliage are beautiful, but that doesn't mean you should let them pile up in your yard—and definitely not in your gutters. While you should be on top of your yard work even if you're not selling, it's an absolute must when it's time to start showing your house. Get out the rake or hire a local landscaping crew to clear your yard of leaves. If you can't safely reach to clean your gutters, a handyperson can do it for you. Fall is also an excellent time to see if those gutters need fixing or a replacement—a leaky downspout isn't a good look for your house when potential buyers come knocking.
3. Boost Curb Appeal
Cleaning up the yard is a start, but you'll also want to give the rest of your home's exterior a makeover as necessary. Examine the siding for any cracks or gaps, and repair them. Pressure wash the house and the driveway to remove dirt and other debris. Go with tasteful outdoor decorations like a simple fall wreath on your door. Try to refrain from decorating your home like a haunted house for Halloween—or at least take listing photos before you do so you don't scare off buyers.
Remember that any seasonal decorations can make listing photos outdated—which is bad news for your bottom line. If your listing is live in March, but the photos show a blow-up turkey in your front yard, buyers will know your home's been lingering on the market for a while.
4. Service Your HVAC
This is another task that should be on your list every year, even if you're not moving—unless you don't mind wearing your coat, hat, and gloves indoors throughout the winter. A yearly HVAC service appointment helps keep your furnace running smoothly and efficiently. With a regular maintenance schedule, a furnace can last you for years. If your furnace is showing its age, though, it might be time for a replacement. It costs between $2,000 and $7,000 to replace a furnace, depending on where you live and the type of furnace you choose.
Keep in mind that if you have a clunky old furnace, it's likely to come up in a home inspection, so you'll be ahead of the game with replacing it. While this isn't the most glamorous home improvement project, home buyers will appreciate the peace of mind.
5. Brighten Up the Interior
The days get shorter as autumn unfolds, which means you've got limited time to show your home in its best light—literally. To make up for the sun setting earlier, make sure all of your interior lighting is ready to shine. Here's how:
Stock up on bulbs and replace any that are dim or burned out.
Wash windows and screens, as dirty panes have a way of keeping out the sunlight.
If you have heavy window treatments, swap them out for lighter ones or pull back the curtain to let the sun in during daylight hours.
Consider painting dark walls a lighter color to make the space seem brighter and more spacious.
With a few small tweaks and some planning, you’ll be able to sell your house in the fall and be on to your next home come the new year.