So you’ve decided that you want to sell your home. The first question is WHEN should you sell? The prime months for selling vary year-to-year, but in good years and bad, generally the “peak” times are from March 1st through Memorial Day and from mid-August until the week before Thanksgiving (conversely, the “slow” periods are typically the summer & winter vacation months, and the holiday lull extends through February).
But also remember that there are ALWAYS buyers out there. Even in our “slow” months there are buyers ~ and there’s less inventory. So although it may seem counterintuitive, if your home comes on the market in a “slow” month it may actually help your chances of selling. In times of limited inventory, the listing is king!
Regardless of your target date for putting the house on the market, your preparation for selling should begin months before. It is never too early to contact an agent and start getting your home prepared. Your agent or your agent’s stager will give you a list of things to do to get your home ready, and the earlier you start on them the better.
And please do not be insulted by the list of things your agent or stager tells you to do in order to sell. All of us start to overlook the little quirks that a home develops and the clutter that accumulates once you live in a place for a while. To sell your home at top dollar, you want your home in great condition and looking its best. That means putting aside a little pride and listening to what the professionals ask you to do. It really does pay off!
If you want to get started NOW, here are some general guidelines we give clients:
GENERAL STAGING GUIDELINES:
1. Gather packing supplies; boxes and tape or plastic bins. Also gather boxes and bags for those items you want to donate to charity.
2. Take everything off the floor of every closet and find another place for it if you can – ideally, nothing is on the floor of any closet.
3. Pack up half of what is in every closet. Half of your clothes, half of everything else – make sure every closet looks SPACIOUS and incredibly neat.
4. Clear as much stuff off every horizontal surface as you can.
5. In one place, have any staging “extras” that you may have – extra pictures, vases, pillows, towels, etc. Your agent or stager may be able to use them in getting your home ready..
6. Make sure all lights work and no lightbulbs are out.
7. Fix anything you know needs to be fixed; that icemaker that stopped working, the siding boards that need to be replaced, and the faucet that is dripping.
8. Take down all of your personal pictures, then just put back out one or two on each floor (minimal personal pictures, but enough to personalize and let the buyer know that you are a “real” person).
Those should get you started. And who knows, after you clear some clutter and fix up things you may decide you want to stay. If not, it is time to call in your Realtor.