Fall Real Estate Market used to be a defined, reasonably successful shoulder season, with buyers shutting down mid-November until maybe early February, coming out in force with the crocuses and forsythia.
Today, not so much.
Fall market goes as long as the weather holds, and Spring market is currently considered to start Dec. 31.
Factor in buyers who need to first sell their house, a diverse population who might not observe many of the end of the year holidays, and an increasing number of people whose lives just do not hinge on the school calendar - you have serious buyers out looking, 24/7/365.
EVERYTHING about your house will stand out more starkly in the next 6 months...so no matter what you want to call it, if your house is ready to sell, "IF" and "WHEN" it goes on the market is the easy part. Here are five easy ways you can make your house shine now:
Clean up the yard:
- Feed the lawn, prune the trees, edge and mulch the garden
- Plant bulbs!
- Remove all the seasonal decorations...faded garden flags, sunflower door mats, frog figurines in bathing suits
Whether we have a moderate or severe winter, your house will still stand out better: greener if it's more moderate, neater as the snow melts, ready and colorful before anyone else in your neighborhood.
Clean up the exterior:
- Power-wash away any detritus on hard surfaces-the house, the walkway, driveway or deck.
- Clear out, inspect and secure the gutters and downspouts.
- Take a critical look at the paint-there are a few weeks remaining to have flaking/peeling paint remedied.
- Mossy roof? Joel Zdanoff-owner of Zdanoff Services in Pleasantville, and one of the most intuitive and clever carpenters I have ever worked with-swears by zinc strips. Install them at the peak of the roof, moisture releases the zinc to travel down the roof, dissolving the moss over time.
WASH THE WINDOWS: Light-filled spaces are very attractive when the days are shorter. Make the most of what you have:
- Wash them inside and out, get all the corners, and include the screens
- Vacuum out the dead bugs, cobwebs, etc that have accumulated between windows, and in crevices
- Don't forget windows in the garage or basement
Clear out the garage and basement...or at least start: Jan. 1 usually sees a spike in activity. I've yet to meet anyone who can marshall the focus to do this at the end of the year. Bulk pick-ups are easier to schedule, too.
Think about some updates: Take a critical look at your house. Better yet, drive around and take a critical look at other houses first-you'll develop your 'buyers' eyes' Then, with an unflinching eye, look at your house and ask:
- Is the mailbox faded, or look wobbly?
- House numbers still there from the last owners?
- Are the light fixtures dated, pitted or rusted?
- Any bare spots in the landscaping?
- Is the entry inviting, or just...there? If it could use some sprucing up-consider planter(s) with a small holly or evergreen
- If appropriate for the style of your house, think about adding shutters to the front, if not the sides as well
- And if you have a patio, leave the outdoor furniture out (or if you don't have any, purchase a few chairs at an end of season sale) and get a fire pit. AWESOME way to add value by extending the season of your outside space
Marie Graham is an Interior Decorator, an Accredited Home Stager and owner of The Refreshed Home. Specializing in smart and practical solutions for people, their space and possessions, she may be reached at 914.607.2895, or firstname.lastname@example.org.