Homeowners considering putting their home on the market next spring should start planning and prepping their home now.
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“No one ever decides to sell overnight,” says Brendon DeSimone, real estate expert at Zillow.com. “If you know you are going to sell within the next year, you should start thinking now about what you need to do to prepare."
Realtor Jennifer Fredericks of BHGRE Preferred Living in College Station, Texas, says November is when she makes the most visits to clients looking to put their homes up for sale in the coming spring season.
“They will come talk to me about what they need to start doing,” Fredericks says. “This season is a good time for people to work on indoor projects—decluttering, packing things up for storage and just planning overall.”
Here are Fredericks’ and DeSimone’s tips for those prepping to sell in spring 2014:
No. 1: Call a licensed property inspector. DeSimone says it’s common that potential buyers may ask you to fix or pay for issues needing repair, so having a property inspector do a full sweep of the home can help you get a head start.
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“Your roof may need fixing, you may have maintenance issues, things like dry rot,” DeSimone says. “You need to clean these things up to make your home more presentable. This needs to be done before you put your house up for sale.”
And while the inspection can cost a few hundred dollars, he says it is worth the investment before listing.
No. 2: Declutter. Both experts agree that less is more when putting your home up for sale, and that the winter season is the perfect time to decide what stays and what needs to go.
“Clean out your closets, bookshelves,” Fredericks says. “Send things to storage. Winter is a good time to work on indoor projects.”
No. 3: Evaluate your yard. Selling in the spring means your yard has to be in good shape. If you live in a warmer climate, you can get to work sprucing up your lawn in the winter, but those in colder parts of the country will have to wait out the chill.
“Depending on where you live, you may have to do more advance planning,” says Fredericks. “But when you are putting your house on the market, you definitely have to focus on the yard."
No. 4. Consider a maintenance schedule. Fredericks says if there are many repairs and issues that need to be tended to in the home, you may need to create a maintenance schedule to meet your spring deadline.
“We get people on a schedule if they have a lot to get done,” she says. “Things like not having the air conditioning filters changed, or gutters not being cleaned out, these can cause damage to the house if left untended.”
No. 5: Compare to other homes in your area. Check out other listings, says DeSimone, to see how your home compares with others currently up for sale.
“See what is popular in your area—hardwood floors or rugs, things like that,” he says. “You can see what is for sale and what is common near your home before you start changing things in your house.”