Get Ready for the Spring Market

The real estate market starts to pop once the weather turns warm, so if you’ve been waiting to put your home on the market, the time is now. Getting your home prepared early lets you hit the prime buying season at its onset, rather than in its full swing later in the season. By preparing your home early, you expose your home to early buyers and have less competition.

Here are a few tips that can help you shine in the spring marketplace:

Price It Right

Pricing your home correctly for the market is the best way to sell your home quickly and for the most money. This is where your Realtor comes into play. They will prepare comparables of your home to others in the marketplace, and look at statistics of what has recently sold. This will determine the best pricing strategy for your home.

What you don’t want to do is price your home too high and have it sit on the market. Days on Market is a common statistic used by multiple listing systems and shows how many days your home has been on the market. A home that has not sold becomes stale and less desirable, and a home that shows multiple price decreases can be interpreted as “something wrong” with the house or desperation. Buyers also look at Days on Market to determine what to offer; homes that have been sitting receive lower offers, often lower than the homeowner would have received had they priced the home correctly in the first place.

Ideally, the best time to get an offer is within the first 30 to 60 days of being listed on the market. If a home sits longer than that, it is time to revisit why no offer has been received; it could be a number of reasons.

The good news for sellers is that the price of homes rose by 1.2% in 2016, with the median sold price coming in at $423,000 in Northern Virginia, according to year-end statistics reported by SmartCharts.

Make Improvements

Coming out of the winter season, your home could probably use some touch up. Refresh the interior walls and trim with a coat of neutral paint, update the light fixtures and hardware, and make sure that all systems and appliances are clean and working.

Although buyers are normally the ones who hire a Home Inspector to review a potential purchase, home sellers are also using Home Inspector services to give their house a once-over before putting it on the market. This way, sellers catch anything that is wrong or potentially wrong with the home to fix it ahead of time. Home Inspector reports are often used by buyers to negotiate discounted pricing, and major problems can turn away or lose potential buyers.

Since a less-than-stellar exterior may just cause your potential buyer to drive by without entering, you will want to spruce up the exterior of your home as well. Clean the windows and walls, or paint if needed, clean and repair the roof, and tidy up the lawn and shrubbery. The presence of flowers is always appealing, so place potted blooms around your entryway.

Declutter and Stage

Potential buyers want to picture themselves living in your home, so Realtors recommend that you remove personal items like photographs, diplomas, and treasures in order to create a neutral space. Pack them up and put them in storage; you’ll be moving soon anyway. Decluttering also opens up the space, making your home appear visually larger. Declutter not only open areas; work on closets, drawers, and cabinets as well.

Utilize the services of a Professional Stager; it is well worth the price if the Realtor does not include this service in their package. Use their expert eye and experience to show you how to stage your home for appeal and quick sale. They understand what the current buyer is expecting and will provide you with suggestions on how to position or remove furniture, and stage tableaus like a fully-set dining table or buffet. Similar to an interior decorator, they have expertise in looking at the whole picture, and will arrange belongings in a way that makes your home look its best.

Professional Stagers will recommend what furniture and possessions to remove, and may bring in furniture, artwork, curtains, pillows, plants, and other objects to warm up your house. Many of them maintain warehouses filled with the perfect accents. Keep in mind that your home must compare with others homes on the market. If they are staged and yours is not, yours will not show as well.

Does staging pay off? A reported 85% of potential buyers will view your home via the Internet prior to visiting, and may base their decision to visit on your photographs. In addition, the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA) reported that 82% of home buyers are likely to be distracted from important issues when touring a staged home; they fall in love with the house and may potentially overpay—up to six to 10% more.

A study by the Real Estate Staging Association also reports that homes staged sell in an average of 42 days, as compared with an average 198 days for those staged after listing—a whopping 79% faster.

People tend to shop for homes when the weather is nice, once they emerge from their winter cocoons, so the spring timeframe is important. Zillow reports that homes listed between May 1 and May 15 sold, on average, 18.5 days faster, and for about one percent more than the average listing, so if you’re considering selling your home in 2017, get ready now. The market is about to take off.

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