Most people think that if they're going to sell a home it's only going to happen in the Spring & Summer. Not so! Fall is an excellent time to get a home sold in most markets. Due to lower inventory and more serious buyers on the prowl for their perfect new home (rather than just casual onlookers and curious neighbors), selling your listing shouldn't be a never-ending struggle as the temperature drops. We all know that it is most important to take a realistic look at your market and price the home accordingly, but here are a few more tips to sell your listing more quickly and for more money this fall:
1. Clean Up the Yard
Be sure to rake any dead leaves and debris in your lawn, or hire a trusted landscaper to do an autumn overhaul on your property both before getting your listing photos taken and periodically to ensure neatness for viewings. Be mindful of weather and storms. If a Nor'easter just blew through, go check out your listing for debris and keep it clean. Don't let overgrown vegetation block the windows or path to the entrance. Cutting bushes and tree limbs will let the sun inside and showcase the exterior of your home. Cut away summer vines and cut down or remove dead flowers. Make the most of the autumn weather in the fall real estate market.
2. Create Autumn Curb Appeal
The most popular autumn flowers are chrysanthemums (or mums), they're readily available at every grocery store and garden center, and they bloom for a long time. Plant them in pots. Place pots on the steps and along the sidewalk. Accent with pumpkins or other types of squash. Staging the front door and entry way with a beautiful autumn wreath or garlands around light posts adds some serious autumn bang for your buck.
3. Dress the Windows
Summer's over and rain and wind from the past few warm months can make your windows dusty and streaked by autumn. You might not notice smudges, but buyers will, if only on a subconscious level. To sell a home, your windows need to sparkle. It is a great idea to wash your windows inside and out every autumn. Remove screens and spray them down.
4. Check the HVAC
You definitely want the air inside your home to smell fresh for viewings, tours, and open houses. When was the last time the furnace filter was changed at your listing? You can buy 90-day furnace filters. Have the HVAC system checked before you need to turn on the heat. Besides, the buyer will ask a home inspector to look at your HVAC. If you discover problems with your furnace, it's better to fix them before your home goes on the market.
5. Clean Out the Fireplace for the Fall Real Estate Market
Nothing conjures great autumn memories more than smoke from a wood-burning fireplace. If you have a gas fireplace, light it when buyers come through. If the fireplace is filled with cobwebs because it hasn't been used for months, vacuum it out and wash it down. Some home stagers will arrange knickknacks in the fireplace in place of wood logs. That can be cute but don't go overboard.
6. Turn on the Lights Everywhere
Above all when showing or staging, bring in the light. When the days are getting shorter, the sun will set lower in the horizon and casts wider shadows. Pull up all the blinds, open the shutters, push back the drapes on every window (might be a good time to make sure your drapes are not dated or over the top!). Turn on every light in the house, including appliance lights and closet lights. Brighten darker rooms with few windows by placing spotlights on the floor behind furniture, and last but not least: turn off the TV.
7. Photograph the property ASAP
Have your professional real estate pictures taken as soon as possible. The earlier in the fall they’re taken, the better the natural light will be and the nicer your outdoor space will look. Even better, if you know you’ll be selling next fall, take your pictures ahead of time, in picture-perfect spring.
8. Limit Holiday Decorations
Limit holiday decorations. Don’t go overboard with the autumn decor. You want to make sure buyers can picture your home as a year-round property, so lose the Halloween decorations in exchange for a modest autumn leaf wreath on the front door.
9. Set the Table for a Feast
We know what’s right around the corner—Thanksgiving—and families will be thinking about gathering loved ones around, maybe even in the new home. Appeal to this dream by setting the table as though you were expecting a large group for a sumptuous feast. Go big with china and crystal and fall-hued place mats and chargers. Dress the table with a runner, accented with a fall-themed centerpiece. Bonus: You can actually use the table setting when/if you host Thanksgiving! WIN!
Now go forth and get that home sold this fall!