Recent industry data indicates this year’s spring real estate climate will likely favor buyers, upping the competition among sellers. With a buyer’s market likely on the horizon, home sellers would do well to make sure their properties are in tip-top shape. In today’s post, we’ll review a few simple tips for ensuring your home for sale is ready for the spring market.

Find a Great Real Estate Agent

Before you get too far ahead with decluttering, cleaning or repairs and remodeling, start by interviewing a few real estate agents. Some things to look for when hiring a listing agent: familiarity with your neighborhood, has experience selling homes similar to yours, professional, good communication skills, courteous.

Avoid the temptation to hire the agent who promises to sell your home for the highest price. A lot of factors can go into pricing a home, including what similar homes nearby have sold for, the condition and age of the home, and the neighborhood itself. A skilled listing agent will undoubtedly do their best to get you the best price they can, but they should also be realistic. Furthermore, your agent can advise you on what changes or updates you should do before putting the home on the market. They may advise you to simply give your home a good cleaning and decluttering session, or they may advise you to make a few repairs or upgrades if they think it will help you get higher offers.

Clear Out Clutter

This is something you’ll hear in almost every article or blog post about preparing a home for sale. Professional home stagers and experienced listing agents know the value of having minimal items in a home when it’s for sale. People like to imagine their own belongings in the rooms when they view a home for sale. Too many knick-knacks, oversized furniture, personal photos or artwork, and just general untidiness can hinder a potential buyer’s imagination and make it harder for them to picture themselves living there.

Take this opportunity to get a head start on packing and organizing your belongings. Start boxing away all the stuff you won’t really need in your day-to-day life. This includes rarely-used kitchen gadgets, your expansive DVD collection, decorations, and family photos. Depersonalize the space as best you can and store those items away in closets, a friend’s basement or rent a storage unit if needed.

Freshen Things Up

What’s the first thing most people notice when entering a home? You might think it’s your lovely foyer or open layout. While your home might have those things, the very first thing people usually notice when coming into a home is the smell. Even if your home doesn’t stink, it could still carry odors that you may have grown accustomed to. This may be especially true if you have pets.

Pick a nice day to air out and freshen up your home by opening some windows while you give each room a quick once-over with the vacuum, mop or dust cloth. You may decide to use some fabric/carpet refresher or deodorizer if the smell is stubborn—just don’t overdo it, especially right before a showing. Some people are sensitive to scented products so avoid strongly scented cleaning supplies and opt for more subtle, naturally good-smelling items.

Bathrooms and Kitchens

Pay extra attention to these rooms. Bathrooms and kitchens are the rooms that really tend to make or break a home sale. If they are very outdated, in need of repairs or lack modern appliances/fixtures, consider doing some upgrades. If your budget doesn’t allow for a full-on remodeling project, consider making simple, cost-effective updates like a fresh coat of neutral paint or changing out light fixtures.

Curb Appeal

Potential buyers will start evaluating your home’s suitability as soon as they pull up in the driveway. Your home’s curb appeal (or lack thereof) will provide the first impression to your visitors, so do your best to make sure it’s a good one. Make sure your lawn is mowed and tidy, clear off any limbs or other lawn debris, keep your front porch or entryway neat and attractive. Maybe consider giving your front door a fresh coat of paint, or pressure washing your home’s siding. Again, your real estate agent can advise on what your home may need in the way of attracting buyers from the street.

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