Though winter is here, spring will be around the corner before we know it. Here are five ways to prepare your home for sell in the spring market.

  1. CLEAR OUT THE CLUTTER: If you visit model homes or open houses that have been staged, you will never see a stack of unread magazines or children’s artwork hanging on the refrigerator or a cluster of mail on the kitchen counter. Buyers want to see a version of your home in which they can envision living there. Once your home is on the market, you’ll need to keep it as neat as possible. One way is to reduce the amount of clutter you have on your shelves and surfaces. Put away items that are regularly on your kitchen counter or in the sink and pack away the family photos that gather dust.
  2. START PACKING: It may sound crazy to start packing months in advance of your move, but since you will eventually need to do this anyway, you might as well get organized now. We’re not suggesting you pack up your kitchen and eat off paper plates, but you can sort through your storage closets, attic, basement or garage to determine what you want to keep, what to give away and what to sell. Boxing up items will make your space look larger and neater when it’s time to show your home. You can also get an idea of whether you need to rent a storage facility while your home is on the market.
  3. IMPROVE YOUR HOME: While you don’t necessarily want to do a major, expensive renovation project before you sell, you can make minor repairs and improvement that will make your home look fresher to buyers. Try things like replacing the caulk and grout in your bathrooms, updating old or rusted ceiling fans, light fixtures and changing switch plates, doorknobs and other hardware for a clean and neat appearance. Consider painting your front door.
  4. INTERVIEW REAL ESTATE AGENTS: Your choice of a listing agent will make a big difference in how quickly your home sells and how much of a profit you will see. The agent can also assist you in the purchase of your new home. Get recommendation from friends to interview several listing agents and see which ones have the right experience with similar homes in your area and price range. A real estate agent with a great marketing plan and deep, local knowledge is extremely important as you sell and buy.
  5. RESEARCH YOUR MARKET: If you plan to buy another home, this decision also depends on your financing. The agent you choose can introduce you to a lender who you will want to consult with you to see how much you can afford to spend for your new home. They will also listen to the criteria on what you are seeking, then create a search to help you find your new home when it comes on the market.

If you spend the winter months preparing for the spring market, you will find yourself ready to move fast when buyers come out of hibernation and new houses come on the market.

by Phil Hotle