If you’re planning to list your home for sale this spring, take advantage of winter’s stay-inside weather by preparing the house now. Here are some chores you can tackle now in preparation for a spring sale:
Clear the clutter
If you don’t already know it, your home should be cleared of your personal belongings before you begin to show it. That means paper piles on the dining table, children’s artwork on the refrigerator, stuffed animals anywhere–you want to give potential buyers a place in which they can imagine their own belongings. That’s hard to do when they’re staring at your stuff in every room.
Spend a few hours each day weeding through the piles, emptying rooms of all but the bare essentials. That includes clearing shelves and surfaces. Put the blender and toaster away and keep that kitchen counter clear and uncluttered. Put away everything in the bathroom and make sure counter tops are clean and clear. Family photos, tchotchkes and non-essential items can all be packed away for your new home.
Pack it up
Although it may seem crazy to start packing months before you move, it’s probably the smartest thing you can do. Take advantage of the lull before the house-showing storm to pack away everything you don’t really need–I guarantee if you look around you’ll find plenty of things you can live without for six months to a year! Clear out closets, empty the basement and attic, pack away items taking up space and collecting dust. I’m not talking about the dishes you use every day, the clothes you wear or your television. Go through your home room by room, determine what items you want to take with you to the new home, what to give away and what to sell, and start boxing stuff up. Your space will appear cleaner and larger to home buyers when they start walking through this spring, and you won’t be scrambling around at the last minute tidying up and hiding the clutter.
Make home improvements
Although you probably don’t want to do any major renovations before you sell, you may find it necessary to make some minor repairs and improvements that will make your home appear fresher to buyers. Consider replacing the caulk and grout in your bathroom if what’s there is discolored, peeling or nasty. Remove or replace dated ceiling light fixtures and ceiling fans, and change out switch plates, doorknobs and other hardware for a clean, inviting appearance. Consider painting rooms that could use freshening, or paint your front door and trim if your rooms don’t need a new coat.
Research the competition and your desired market
If you’re planning to buy another home, it’s important to decide whether you want to sell your home first or make an offer on a new home before putting yours on the market. Now is the time to start interviewing realtors in order to find a knowledgeable local professional who can help you evaluate the pace at which homes are selling in your market, and help you estimate how long it will take you to find a home. Since most decisions are based on your financial situation you may want to consult with a lender to see how you can finance the transition from one home to another if you choose not to sell your home first.
Spend these quiet winter months preparing your home spring, you’ll find yourself ready to move quickly when the housing market thaws and buyers come start to flow.