Like us you might be in denial that summer will end - we are not quite ready to pack away our beach chairs just yet! But soon enough September will be here bringing with it cooler weather, a return to more normal routines, and a renewed focus on the housing market. There are definitely advantages to listing your home in the fall rather than waiting for next spring. Prices are still high, as a result of limited inventory for the past several months. Fewer homes on the market in general means less competition for buyers than in the busiest season. Buyers at this time of year tend to be more focused, their desire to be in their new home before the holiday season makes them much more likely to move quickly through the process and avoid delay. And while some buyers will be governed by school schedules, more than half of buyers* do not have children living at home, and are therefore not concerned about moving during the school year. So if you are at all considering a move, this fall could be a great time to get your home listed and get ahead of the competition.
However, the fall market tends to be a much shorter time frame. By November the run-up to Thanksgiving and the Holidays, combined with a change in the weather, shifts attention away from buying and selling homes, so you’ll need to be able to move quickly to make the most of this shorter season. With that in mind, here are some tips for things you can be doing now to be ready to get your home on the market right after Labor Day.
The number one thing you want to do to prepare for a move is to get rid of anything you don’t want to take with you! Not only will it make your life easier on moving day, removing much of the everyday clutter will help to show your home in its best light. Go through your closet and donate any clothes you didn’t wear this summer - if you didn’t wear it this year, it’s unlikely you will next! Go through your kitchen cabinets and toss any out of date products, and also remove any chipped or cracked plates, cups and bowls - anything already damaged is unlikely to survive a move. Books and games that the children have outgrown can be donated to a local school or playgroup. If you have a lot of excess stuff to get rid of, consider a yard sale - you can pass on your unused belongings and raise a bit of money in the process.
Once you have decluttered, take a good hard look at your walls and baseboards and address any chipped or flaking paintwork. If you are looking at more than a few touch-ups, it is money well-spent to hire a professional painter to refresh the paintwork. This is especially important if you are making a dramatic color change - neutral palettes are more attractive to buyers, but it takes a good amount of hard work and skill to turn that red accent wall to a pale gray. The same goes for the exterior of your home - flaking or peeling paint can act as a red flag to a buyer, and lead them to question whether the home has been maintained. It’s a wise investment to address anything that could give potential buyers a poor first-impression. If you are unsure about paying for this work upfront, ask one of our agents about our White Glove program, where you can take care of repair and renovations now and defer payment until closing.
Tidy Your Yard
Making the outside of your home look presentable can be challenging during the fall, but there are a few simple things you can do to make a good first impression. At the end of the summer, tidy up any plants that have finished blooming and add a fresh layer of mulch to make everything look neat. Replace any window boxes or hanging baskets with seasonal flowers such as mums, and keep up with the mowing and leaf raking. Make sure your gutters are cleared so they don’t have water pouring over the top at showings. Wipe down and / or paint your front door and invest in a new doormat or decorative wreath to add curb appeal.
Get a Realtor
Most importantly, if you want to buy or sell a home this fall, you should be talking to a realtor now. They can advise you on the current market conditions in your area, assess the true value of your home today, make recommendations on any improvements needed to maximize your sale potential, and give you practical advice on documents you need to get in order. All these things are going to put you in the best position to take advantage of the fall market as soon as September hits. Get in touch with one of our experienced realtors today and start planning your next move!
*Source: Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2017