According to traditional wisdom, there’s not much that happens in the New England real estate market during the autumn and early winter months. Most real estate agents would probably tell you that fall is a time when the real estate market goes into virtual hibernation, with many potential buyers and sellers shelving their plans to move until spring.
However, that’s not always the best advice. The autumn months can provide lots of solid opportunities for people looking to buy and sell – if you know how to take advantage of them.
If you’re ready to put your home on the market, there’s no particular reason to wait until spring. The relative shortage of homes for sale during the autumn months can make your property stand out if you present it the right way. Plus, the heightened competition for property brought about by the lack of supply can encourage prospective buyers to pay a premium in some cases. Taking advantage of this situation generally means presenting your property to buyers in just the right way, and especially pricing it to sell.
Even if you’re convinced that waiting until spring is the right move strategically, the autumn months still can be beneficial for getting your property ready for sale.
It’s always a good idea to declutter a home as much as possible prior to marketing it for sale, and the cold weather months provide the perfect opportunity to go through your home and weed out anything you no longer need.
If you’re ambitious enough, you can go room by room and briefly empty out all of the contents – even furniture. Restore only what you really need, cleaning and organizing as you go. Consider selling or donating anything usable that’s left over. You’ll probably be amazed at how different your house will look when you’re done – and so will the buyers you invite in later. (Bonus tip – while you’re at it, don’t forget about attics, basements, and garage areas. They all count to buyers!)
As you’re going through and decluttering your home, take a look around at each room for any small maintenance items you can attend to this fall. Buyers are going to spend a lot of money on your house. In order to make your best impression, you want everything to be in top condition. Don’t wait for a home inspector to point out defects and for buyers to ask for money back. Put yourself in their shoes and fix whatever you find in advance. Now’s the time to fix leaky faucets, broken light fixtures, and surface blemishes. You can also repaint or resurface any areas that look like they need a good freshening up. Just be sure to hire a pro if you’re not the handy type, especially for bigger projects. Also, resist the temptation to ‘paper over’ defects that need actual repair.
Finally, fall can be a good time to make sure major systems in your home are working like they should be. For example, if your heating system hasn’t been serviced in a long time, call a technician to stop by and give it a tune up. If you have working fireplaces, consider calling a chimney sweep to get them cleaned before there’s snow up on the roof. And, always remember to make sure you have adequate, working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Buyers like to know that major systems have been properly maintained, so having an up-to-date service record can be handy. Best of all, you’ll benefit from having better working and more efficient systems all winter long, which can save you lots of money and frustration.
Want some more tips on how to prepare your house for a future sale? Give us a call, we’d be happy to speak with you!