If It`s Ready, They Will Come

As the economic numbers slowly but surely continue to improve, the question about putting a house on the market this time of year looms large in the mind of many.

Data and anecdotes can support either position…. so “IF”  and “WHEN”  should be a decision you and your Realtor make together, based on your situation.  But here is my point: the process of having a listing go live is relatively quick and easy. It’s getting ready to go live that takes the time.

If you are ready, you are driving the bus. And my experience in this market is If  It’s Ready, They Will Come.

In our area, Fall Market was a defined, reasonably successful shoulder season, with buyers shutting down mid-November until maybe early February, coming out in force with the crocuses and forsythia. Today, not so much. Fall market goes as long as the weather holds, and Spring market is currently considered to start December 31.

Factor in buyers who need to first sell their house, a diverse population who might not observe many of the end of the year holidays, and an increasing number of people whose lives just do not hinge on the school calendar – you have serious buyers out looking, 24/7/365.

No matter what season you call it, EVERYTHING about your house will stand out more starkly in the next 6 months. If selling now is something you are considering, here are five easy ways you can make your house shine now:

Clean up the yard:

Feed the lawn, prune the trees, edge and mulch the garden

Plant YELLOW!  A high-visibility, uplifting color-bright yellow mums now, plant daffodill and yellow tulip bulbs for spring 

Remove all the seasonal decorations…faded garden flags, sunflower door mats, frog figurines in bathing suits

Moderate winter-your house is brighter, greener. Otherwise it’s neater as the snow melts, ready and colorful before anyone else in your neighborhood.

Clean up the exterior:

  • Power-wash away any detritus on hard surfaces-the house, the walkway, driveway or deck.
  • Clear out, inspect and secure the gutters and downspouts.
  • Take a critical look at the paint-there are a few weeks remaining to have flaking/peeling paint remedied.
  • Mossy roof? Joel Zdanoff-owner of Zdanoff Services in Pleasantville, and one of the most intuitively clever carpenters I have ever worked with-swears by zinc strips. Install them at the peak of the roof, moisture releases the zinc to travel down the roof, dissolving the moss over time.

WASH THE WINDOWS: Light-filled spaces are very attractive when the days are shorter. Make the most of what you have:

  • Wash them inside and out, including the screens
  • Vacuum out the dead bugs, cobwebs, etc that have accumulated between windows, and in crevices
  • Don’t forget windows in the garage or basement

Clear out the garage and basement…or at least start:  January 1st usually sees a spike in activity. I’ve yet to meet anyone who can marshall the focus to do this at the end of the year. Bulk pick-ups are easier to schedule, too.

Think about some updates:  Take a critical look at your house. Better yet, drive around and take a critical look at other houses first-you’ll develop your ‘buyers’ eyes’ Then, with an unflinching eye, look at your house and ask:

  • Is the mailbox faded, or look wobbly?
  • House numbers still there from the last owners?
  • Are the light fixtures dated, pitted or rusted?
  • Any bare spots in the landscaping?
  • Is the entry inviting, or just…there?  If it could use some sprucing up-consider planter (s) with a small holly or evergreen
  •  If appropriate for the style of your house, think about adding shutters to the front, if not the sides as well
  • And if you have a patio, leave the outdoor furniture out (or if you don’t have any, purchase a few chairs at an end of season sale) and get a fire pit. AWESOME way to add value by extending  the season of your outside space

Bottom line-trust the “WHEN” to your Realtor, but trust “HOW” to The Refreshed Home!