Spring is a favorable time of year to sell a home. Based on research presented in 2019, Zillow states that nationwide, homes listed for sale between May 1 and May 15 tend to sell for about .7 percent more. That equates to roughly $1,600 extra on the sale of a typical U.S. home during that peak period. Though there are trends that vary from market-to-market, homes generally sell about six days faster during this time in May. Sales are often favorable just outside this May window as well. However, there is one big drawback for spring sellers – increased competition. Here are five dynamite tips (remember the five Ds) to make your home sell faster:
1) Declutter – Homes with too much furniture and clutter can present distractions for buyers. Plus, it may give the illusion that a room is smaller. When selling a home, limit the amount of furniture and knickknacks in a space. Additionally, pay attention to key areas of the home that tend to contain clutter. This includes closets, cabinets space, and countertops. Seeing clutter in these spaces can give buyers the impression that storage is lacking. Pare down the amounts of items in closets and keep items on the countertop to a bare minimum. To give your home an advantage over others, pack up what you don’t need or use, such as winter clothing or equipment such as sleds and skis, and put it in secured storage.
2) Depersonalize – Our homes are our havens and thus tend to reflect our personalities. When selling a home, it’s time to focus on the buyers. The goal is to get them to imagine themselves feeling comfortable and living in the space. This often necessitates depersonalizing the home, an action whereby one removes their personal identity. For example, a rooster collection or an apple-themed kitchen are specific design elements. No matter how much the owner enjoys them, a buyer might not feel the same connection to those items. Thus, collections should be packed away before the house goes on the market. Family photos are another consideration for storage. Many stagers and real estate professionals may ask sellers to put away large collections of family photos. This action allows buyers to envision the home for sale as tailored for them, not for the seller. Be sure to patch up and paint walls where photos once hung or replace the family photos with neutral artwork.
3) Deodorize – There is perhaps nothing worse for buyers than walking into a home and smelling cigarette smoke or foul odors from a musty room or a cat’s litter box. Often, buyers will turn right back around and refuse to see the home. If a house falls on the “stinky’ side of things, there are some key things to do. Consider hiring a professional house cleaner or mold remediation specialist if required. Remove soiled and odorous carpeting and consider having the home’s air ducts cleaned. Or do a deep clean yourself, leaving no space unturned. This includes washing walls, floors, windows, surfaces, degreasing appliances, and making bathrooms spotless—deep clean upholstery, curtains, and other fabric that can absorb odors. Also, keep up with the laundry that can be a source of stink. Remember to do touch up and daily cleanings to maintain the cleanliness level. Don’t bother baking brownies or chocolate chip cookies before buyers arrive to make the house smell better. It is often too big of a burden when trying to exit the home. Consider using an air freshener or burning a soy or beeswax candle if not left unattended. Do not smoke indoors and clean up after pets immediately. Remember that a little cleaning can go a long way to help sell your home at top price.
4) Decorate – New buyers look for neutral designs, as colors can be taste-specific. While going bright with paint colors can be fun, it can turn buyers off. Thus, neutral walls are optimal. HomeAdvisor suggests that the best colors to sell your home, especially for small rooms and kitchens, are whites and neutrals. Whereas earthy tones are ideal for living rooms. Neutral colors add versatility when incorporated with proper home staging. Per the National Association of Realtors 2019 Profile of Home Staging, eighty-three percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for buyers to visualize the property as a future home. They share some other eye-opening statistics. Forty percent of buyers’ agents cited that home staging affected most buyers’ view of the home. Staging the living room was found to be most important for buyers (47%), followed by staging a master bedroom (42 %) and kitchen (35%). One-quarter of buyer’s agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered between one and five percent, compared to other homes on the market that are not staged. Thus, from a buyer’s perspective, staged homes are generally preferred.
5) Desirability – In general, new buyers tend to prefer homes in move-in condition rather than buying a fixer-upper. Often, this is fear-driven due to the high cost of renovations and lack of money, time, and/or ability to perform fixes. The goal of sellers is to make their home desirable for buyers as it can drive up the sales price. A home in great condition can lead to a bidding war, which occurs when two or more prospective buyers of a property compete for ownership by increasing bids in increments. A home that is most desirable requires few repairs. Some renovations or restorations might be necessary before the home hits the market to make one’s home in tip-top shape. If multiple repairs are needed, and a seller must prioritize, it’s vital to seek the greatest asset’s advice besides the seller’s home, that is, a realtor. These professionals are familiar with what buyers want, are knowledgeable on inspection reports, and are expert negotiators. A trusted realtor can provide a wealth of knowledge on how to proceed regarding repairs. If sellers ask a realtor for his or her honest advice, they should not take suggestions personally. Remember that realtors ultimately represent the sellers and seek the greatest outcome for them regarding sales.
It can be a frustrating experience for sellers to have a home that perpetually sits on the market while others around sell fast. It can be equally disappointing to receive lowball offers that put a home below market price. But, with a few smart decisions and with a focus on the five D’s, a home can hit the busy spring market and successfully sell despite steep competition.