If you are considering selling your home, chances are you’ve asked either yourself or others “when is the best time to sell?”
It’s a valid question for those wanting to ensure that they obtain the maximum sale price. The problem is, however, that you will receive conflicting information depending on who you ask. Some will say spring is the best season to sell in, others will say autumn. Some will say when prices are high, others will say when interest rates are low.
But in reality, the best time to sell is when you decide you need to sell. For most vendors, the determining factors in deciding to sell are personal ones – change in relationship or financial circumstances being the most common.
Therefore if you have decided to sell, there is no point holding off listing your home in the hopes of hitting the market in its unquantifiable “sweet spot”. At the time you’ve decided to sell, you know what state the market is in and you know what interest rates are – you don’t know what they will be in the future. Additionally, the advent of online marketing has reduced the impact of seasonal factors on the real estate market; any potential buyer can now get a good look at – and even a virtual walkthrough of – your property long before they pull up in your driveway.
If you need to sell your house, the best thing to do is contact your real estate agent. The logistics of the sale can then be worked out based on your needs, not the needs of the market and the banks.
With this in mind, there are very practical steps you can take to maximise your return regardless of what time of year it is or what the real estate market is like. The crucial open inspection, in which buyers will inspect the house they may make their home, is your best selling point.
So what are some of the ways you can present your home at its best leading up to the open?
Cleaning and repairs
Now is the time to stop putting off all those odd repair jobs you have been putting off. Get the caulking gun and the touch-up brush out, locate your screws and screwdrivers, and break out the WD40; present a home that is in good repair.
Attend to any glaring issues on the outside as well. Cosmetic repairs may be cheap and easy, but many astute buyers will see straight through a slap-dash job. You don’t want to overcapitalise, but you want to make sure the outside of your home reflects its true value.
Make sure there are no nasty smells hanging around your house. Open the windows to air it out, take the shoes out of the entry and put them in the cupboard (or the garbage if necessary!). And remember not to make a cabbage casserole the night before!
If you have pets, arrange to have them taken care of by a friend or relative for the inspection time, and clean up after them – remove the kitty litter or dog bowls, vacuum up the fur and remove any odours they may have left.
Lastly, clean your home until it sparkles. Hard floors, carpets and walls are major areas prospective buyers focus on, so ensure they are exceptionally clean. Ensure your kitchen appliances and surfaces are gleaming. Make sure the windows are crystal-clear, and that any dirty washing or garbage is dealt with.
Remove any unnecessary clutter – books and magazines lying around, personal effects that don’t add appeal etc. Also declutter outside as well – old half-broken swing sets, children’s toys etc.
If you have a lot of furniture, it may make the space feel enclosed. So consider removing any non-essential furniture to open up living areas and give a more spacious feel to your home.
Once everything is clean, neat and tidy, it’s time for the fun part – putting some inviting touches in place!
Small ornaments such as fruit bowls, flower vases and picture frames can add to the visual texture of your home and create a comforting feel. Keep the colours neutral and keep it to a minimum, otherwise you will undo all of your decluttering efforts.
Smell is an oft overlooked aspect of creating a homely atmosphere. There are many suggestions – fresh flowers, scented candles, freshly brewed coffee, baked cookies – all of these, if not overdone, can significantly add to the appeal of your home. It’s best to avoid strong scents or spray fresheners.
Invite light in – open the curtains, turn on any lamps that give a warm, soft glow. Also ensure that the indoor temperature is under control. You want to create the impression in your buyers that this is really a place they could make their home.
In line with the above point, you may want to consider removing large family photos for the open. It is easier for someone to imagine their own family photos on the wall if you replace yours with an attractive wall print.
Finally, when the inspection comes – be elsewhere. The existing owner being present is intimidating for prospective buyers and could make them want to make a quick exit. This is not conducive to creating buyer appeal!
In summary, remember that the best time to sell your house is when you make the decision to sell. Contact your real estate agent for expert advice. They, along with the presentation of your home, are the two best selling points you can have.