Many people think of summer as the best time to sell a house, but autumn can also be a good time to put your home on the market. Knowing what buyers are looking for and how to avoid the pitfalls of the season can help you sell your home fast.
Focus on Curb Appeal
Autumn is a very dramatic time in many neighborhoods. With leaves changing colors and rain storms rolling in and out, lawn maintenance and exterior home maintenance is more important than ever.
- Rake leaves continuously: Piles of un-raked leaves on the ground will remind home buyers of yard work, and may even lead them to believe that your lawn requires too much maintenance. Keep your leaves raked and out of site at all times.
- Clean your home's exterior: Your home's exterior may become more exposed as the trees lose their leaves. Use a hose, warm soapy water and a scrub brush to clean your home's exterior siding, then wash down your windows until they gleam.
- Swap out old landscaping for new: This summer's old landscaping may be dying or dead. Remove the old landscaping and put in new landscaping to keep your lawn looking alive and fertile for buyers.
Bring Fall Colors Inside
Fall colors make can people feel nostalgic and festive. Decorating with fall colors indoors capitalizes on these feelings, leaving your buyers longing for a place to call home. Keep your decorations tasteful and subtle. Cinnamon scented candles, a leaf garland on a bookcase and a display of gourds by the front door are all simple examples of the types of decorations that will give your home a special fall flavor.
Maintain Systems that Warm Your Home
A chilly home can be off-putting for buyers who like to know they'll feel comfortable when they move in. To fix this problem, maintain the systems that warm your home. Have your fireplace cleaned, then stock fresh logs on the hearth to signal to buyers that the fireplace works. You may even consider lighting a fire for open houses that take place on particularly chilly days.
Have your HVAC system serviced to ensure that your furnace is in good working condition and your ducts are sealed. Finally, if your home has any ductless heating systems, check them all at the start of the fall to be sure that they're working properly, and have them repaired if they're not.
A drafty home is not an inviting home for buyers. Take an afternoon to weatherstrip your doors and windows, to make your home feel as warm and cozy as possible. If your home lacks insulation in the attic or in some rooms of the the house, have new insulation installed to ensure your home is comfortable when the temperatures outside drop.
Keep the Lights On
Buyers like homes that are filled with light. With the days getting shorter, it's important to be sure that your home will be well-lit when buyers arrive. Install extra lamps in darker rooms of your home. When buyers arrive, keep the lights on to make each room look inviting.
If your home lacks exterior lighting, consider buying solar powered garden lights. These lights are easy to install and can help your property stand out in the dark. Finally, be sure the light that illuminates your home's house number is working properly, as this light will help buyers find your property in the evening hours.
Price it Right
Overpricing is one of the biggest mistakes that many home sellers make. A lower, more competitive price can attract multiple buyers at one time, leading to a bidding war and a higher sale price overall. Even buyers who don't find themselves bidding against other buyers will sometimes bid high if they believe the price is fair and the property will sell quickly. Work with your real estate agent to find the right price for your home.
Be Ready to Show Your Home All the Time
Buyers can show up at unexpected hours. Even buyers who don't come in or knock at the door may still drive by at random hours on weekdays and weekends. Keep your home show-ready all the time, so all potential buyers will get the best impressions of your property.
Work with a Good Real Estate Agent
Home selling in fall can present some challenges. Working with a good real estate agent can help you overcome these challenges with ease. Before you put your house on the market, spend time looking for an agent that you can communicate with clearly and who has a track record for selling homes in your area. Sit down with your real estate agent before the house goes up for sale, and go over all the changes or small improvements that can help your home go quickly this season.
Take care to follow your agent's advice, keep your home looking its best throughout the season, and get ready for your first offer!