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Selling Your Home in the Spring

Selling Your Home in the Spring

Means preparing in the winter

 

A few years back, my family and I prepared to sell the home we thought we would live in forever. A bad boss led to an unforeseen job change. The kiddo’s school didn’t offer what we needed. In just weeks, we went from content and happy to discontent and frustrated. It was time to move.

It happens to folks across the country every day, but the winter season presents a particular challenge when it comes to selling a home for the highest possible price. Most homes show better in the sunshine with a yard full of leafy trees and worse under grey skies with a yard covered in soggy leaves. And what buyer wants to spend a damp Sunday trudging from Open House to Open House, leaving snowy boots by the door to explore the home in their wet socks. Yuck.

 

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Why Wait?

 

Spring always comes, and this year will be no different. If you have the flexibility and financial wherewithal to wait until the spring or summer to sell your home, you might be able to fetch a higher price. For years to come, you’ll be glad you waited, instead of wondering if you rushed and undersold your home.

I actually find it easier to prepare the home for selling in the winter. I’m already inside, I’m living in and among my home and my stuff, not out on the back deck reading a book and having a beer in the sunshine. The winter gives me time to think things through, plan, and then pace my action as I optimize my home for as high a price as I can fetch.

 

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How to Prepare

 

Storage

The first move is to call a storage unit company that’s easy to get to from your house. Everyone lives in a home that has all the things they want and much more than they need. In order to clean up and stage your home, you need to store away the things you want to keep that do not add to the appearance or value of your home. That could be extra couches, art work, or boxes of antiques and keepsakes. No buyer needs to see all that.

 

Stage

Before you start getting rid of anything, which is our next step, it’s time to make a plan for the appearance of your home as you try to sell it. If you’ve been using a spare bedroom for storage or exercise equipment, now is the time to stage it as a bedroom. The buyer needs to be able to envision their life in your home. Make it easier by generically, neatly setting up your layout.

 

Minimize

As you staged, you noticed even more things that didn’t need to be there, right? Or when you laid that spare bedroom out, you found that your old king bed is too big. The minimizing  or cleaning stage is when you use Go Trashy, the junk removal app, to upcycle, recycle, or toss all the stuff you no longer want or need, on-demand. Get the home down to only what you need in order to live there, and what the buyer needs in order to envision themselves there. You don’t want empty rooms; you want minimally staged rooms.

 

Educate

The whole household needs to adjust to a new normal. A cleaner, more organized house won’t stay that way if you don’t get the whole family involved. Educate everyone one why they need to put their shoes away, make their beds, and avoid bringing clutter into the house. You can start gently, so they adjust to the changes as the spring season approaches. Then, when you list the house, everyone is already up to speed and keeping the place looking great.

 

Strategize

Selling a home takes thoughtful planning, knowledge, and the right help. Use the winter to interview several realtors until you find one that you like. Remember, it’s not just who the friendliest person is. You need this person to negotiate and represent you as you try to get the highest price. Study your local market all winter, and watch for trends or patterns. And start looking at homes you might like to purchase next!

 

List

Your market and your agent will help you make an informed decision as you select a listing price. I recommend being slightly aggressive. I have a tendency to be too soft, and I don’t like the feeling of wondering if I could have gotten more. Last time, I priced higher, having learned my lesson, and it led to a great final sale price.

 

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