Springtime! The crocuses and daffodils have already appeared in area gardens and the trees have begun to bud thanks to the unseasonably warm temperatures. Soon favorite outdoor activities — gardening, grilling and playing baseball — will begin again.
Springtime is also special because it ushers in the “spring selling season,” the time of year when, according to Realtors, the selling and buying of houses is most active. For those eager to sell their house, having it listed early in the selling season is advantageous. The inventory of available houses for sale is still low, thus creating a more desirable market for the seller.
There are other ways to increase the appeal of a house to prospective buyers that will help it sell more quickly. Here are three practical suggestions.
• Declutter. Realtors tend to agree that a house that is free of clutter sells more quickly than one that is filled with stuff. By removing the extraneous piles of books and clothing shoved into corners, furniture that makes a room feel too crowded and a variety of assorted knick knacks displayed on every possible surface, a room will appear larger. The goal of this task is have the special features of each room immediately appeal to a prospective buyer upon entry. An attractive fireplace and mantel cannot be appreciated if overstuffed furniture has been placed in front of it. A hardwood floor will go unnoticed if it is covered with a variety of clutter. A large bay window will restrict natural light and have the outdoor garden and yard go unnoticed if it is covered with hanging plants. Remove the items that will distract a buyer. This is a good time to donate or discard any unwanted items.
• Depersonalize. This task is perhaps the most difficult because it requires removing many of the special touches that make a house a home, like family photographs, diplomas and collections. Conceal cosmetics, hair products and medications, as well as any other personal items when the house is being shown. Remember, it is the house that is being sold, not the home. The home will be moved and recreated in the new residence where the special family treasures will be displayed again. It is also important to realize that this task is not an indictment of the owners decorating style or tastes. The goal is to make the house as neutral as possible so a prospective buyer can envision living there.
• Clean. In order to attract a prospective buyer, the house should be clean and odor-free. The goal is to have a buyer feel comfortable and “at home” in the house. This won’t happen if the house is dirty or smells of smoke or pets. Make sure that windows and hanging fixtures sparkle, furniture is dusted, floors washed or vacuumed, kitchen counters wiped clean and bathrooms sanitized. Empty the trashcans and check for cobwebs.
Don’t forget to clean the exterior also by power washing and removing leaves or other garden debris around the front door. The front of the house helps create curb appeal and that important “first impression.”
After consulting with a Realtor, other beneficial suggestions may be offered, including making basic repairs. The sooner the house is ready to invite prospective buyers in, the sooner the house will be sold and a new chapter in your life can begin.
Marlene Stocks is the owner of Senior Transition Services, a senior move management company based in Huntingdon Valley. As a certified senior move manager, Stocks provides her clients and their families “peace of mind” by managing every detail of the client’s move, as well as their content removal needs. Senior Transition Services has served 750 families in the five-county area and South Jersey since 2008. Info: Senior-Transition-Services.com; 215-947-5490.