Tip: If your home has been languishing on the market since the holidays, take it off the market. Give it a chance to "cool down" for a few weeks before putting it back on the market. Nobody is going to look at your home in the spring if the DOM show it's been on the market for several months. Buyers gravitate toward fresh, new listings!
Here are 15 things you can do to improve the odds that your home will stand out among the sea of new listings flooding the spring-time real estate market:
1) Wash windows inside and out / polish all mirrors
Sparkle is free, and sparkle sells homes. A potential buyer may not realize why your home seems so inviting but will feel drawn to it if the windows are spotless and your mirrors reflect sunlight. Cleaning is the first step to preparing your home for sale.
2) Rake the yard / trim back bushes
Clean out dead leaves and debris in your lawn. Don't let overgrown vegetation block the windows or path to the entrance. Cutting bushes and tree limbs will let the sun inside and showcase the exterior of your home.
3) Mow diagonally and edge lawn along driveway / sidewalks
Artfully manicured lawns are edged and tell buyers you pay attention to small details. Diagonally mowed lawns make your yard appear larger.
4) Transplant tulips and daffodils or buy flowers in containers
Yellow flowers stimulate buying urges. After a long winter, everybody is anxious to see the first signs of spring. Yellow tulips and daffodils induce feelings of happiness and contentment. Arrange containers in groups of three or five near the entrance.
5) Clean drapes, curtains & blinds and open every window
Send your window coverings to the dry cleaners or wash, dry and press. Toss blinds into a soapy bathtub for a quick wash. Get rid of all accumulated dust and spider webs. Crisp linens and a spring-time breeze through the windows invites the season inside.
6) Set out fresh-smelling flowers such as just-clipped lilac branches or peonies
Why not flatter your neighbors and ask if you can borrow flowers from their yards? Natural scents are more appealing than artificial and trigger fewer allergies among those susceptible. Peony vases are designed to hold peonies upright, but wash the flowers first to avoid carrying ants inside. Clever home staging brings color and fragrance indoors.
7) Polish floors to a high gloss
Your hardwood floors should be refinished, if necessary. Make your ceramic and linoleum floors twinkle and shine. Bleach dull grout. Thoroughly clean all area rugs.
8) Utilize towels, throws, pillows in light colors – yellows, pinks, pale blues, lavenders
Even if it means replacing items, towels, linens, throws and sofa pillows are inexpensive accents you can buy. In soft spring colors, they will light up a room. Layer towels on bathroom towel racks and place rolled wash cloths on the counters in a fashionable pyramid.
9) Offer an outside mat for cleaning shoes & put umbrella stand at entrance
No matter where you live, spring weather is often unpredictable. In some states, it can be 72 degrees one day and snowing the next. If it's raining, give buyers a place to stash umbrellas and wipe their feet before entering your home. Some sellers lay down plastic runners across floors for protection, but that tends to ruin the effect of a glittering polish job.
10) Buy brightly colored helium balloons
Stationery and party-supply stores sell helium balloons for about a dollar each. So, there's no reason not to pick up a couple dozen balloons to tie to your open house signs. Balloons build excitement and will get your home noticed by home shoppers.
11) Set out four-color flyers & financing options
Don't skimp on your marketing materials. You want home buyers to select your flyer among the dozens they pick up. Color sells better than black and white. Show home buyers how easily they can afford to buy your home by giving them two or three financing options. The first thing on buyer's minds when considering a home purchase is the monthly mortgage payment. Don't make them guess.
12) Use a color photo for display advertising
Spend a little more on newspaper and online advertising by including a color photograph in your ad. Remember: a picture is worth a 1,000 words. Look through your photo galleries for a seasonal photograph that flaunts your home to its best advantage.
13) Mail four-color postcards with UV coating
Call a local title company to obtain a free direct-mail list of your surrounding neighbors. Print four-color oversized postcards and include a UV coating to give the marketing oomph. Use first-class postage.
14) Fill sink with ice to chill bottled water for guests
Put a couple dozen bottles of water in a sink of ice for buyers. You can also tape labels to the bottles, printed from your computer, with your phone number, a photograph and address of your home.
15) Set out treats, individually wrapped in cellophane & tied w/ribbon
Touring homes makes buyers hungry. Give them a snack. It will give buyers an opportunity to linger in your kitchen and marvel at its elegant appointments, which might otherwise be overlooked.
At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, DRE # 00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.