Ah, autumn! It’s that time when everything seems to taste like pumpkin or smell like cinnamon and apples. Summer is over. Beach days are a thing of the past. The kids are ready to go back to school, and it seems as if life gets a little more serious. Christmas is just around the corner and, before you know it, the weather will turn colder (depending on where you live) and the leaves will start to fall.
Maybe you’ve been thinking about selling your house soon, and now that summer vacations are out of the way, and you’re getting down to business as usual, perhaps it might be the right time to list. But maybe you’ve heard it said that fall isn’t a great time to sell and that you missed the golden opportunity to unload your house once the summer set in and started to wane. Maybe well-meaning friends are trying to convince you to wait…though you’d rather do it now and be in your new home by the start of the new year.
So, what should you do? Should you sell your house in the fall and, if so, what will you need to do to get the job done?
Summer can take a toll on the exterior of your home…and the interior as well. So, take a look around and see what needs a little sprucing up.
On the outside, make sure all your summer “stuff” is stowed neatly away and that the outdoor area looks ready for the fall. And as you progress into the season, you’ll need to keep up with that all-important outside maintenance, which can be time-consuming in the autumn. These tasks will include trimming bushes and weeding flowerbeds (and perhaps planting some fall flowers/plants), raking leaves, removing loose sticks and acorns (and anything else that falls from the trees), and keeping the grass trimmed.
And don’t forget the gutters! Gutters are easily clogged by leaves and other debris and can become a real problem when the rain (or ice) arrives. Consider hiring a professional gutter cleaner to take care of this important task. They have the ladders and other tools needed to get the job done correctly.
Embrace the season!
We may joke about pumpkin spice lattes and apple-cinnamon candles, but most people love the look and smell of the autumn, even in climates where autumn isn’t really a big deal.
So, if you’ve decided to put your house on the market in the fall, embrace the quirks of the season and do a little decorating and mood setting. That might mean burning a few apple-scented candles, boiling some cinnamon sticks, or maybe even leaving a warm pumpkin pie sitting on the stove.
Enhance your entrance area with a lovely collection of pumpkins and other gourds, but if you’re using the real stuff, make sure they stay fresh. You’ll likely have to replace them a few times.
Avoid the spooky Halloween stuff. Not everyone likes that holiday and small children tend to be scared when the decorations are a little too macabre, even if you think they’re funny or clever.
Check-ups and Inspections
Fall is an excellent time to check and make sure all systems are up to snuff. After a busy, hot summer, for example, you’ll want to make sure the HVAC system is in good working condition, and that filters are changed, etc.
It’s also an ideal time to have your fireplace(s) inspected and your flues and chimneys cleaned. You may want to light the fireplace during showings to create a warm, autumn atmosphere in your home, and the last thing you want is smoke filling your house because of any clogs that might be present.
Do want you would do during other times of the year!
In general, however, selling your home in the fall needn’t be all that different than selling your home any other time of the year. That means you should adhere to the same principals you would follow during the other 365 days a year.
- Price it right! – There may be fewer buyers in the fall, but the fact is that homes sell all year long and there are indeed buyers that will want your house...IF it’s priced right. So, don’t fool around with the price. Don’t “speculate”. Price it right from the start, and you’ll have a better chance at making a quick sale with a reasonable price and terms.
- Understand your market – Part of pricing your home right is understanding the market in your area. Is it a buyer’s market? Seller’s market? Flat or balanced market? For this, you need an experienced realtor who is ultra-familiar with the area in which you are located. Listen to him/her. Look at the comps and other statistics and determine from those facts what the right price may be. And if you decide by those stats that now is not a great time to sell, then consider waiting until a better time.
- Hire the right professional – Take time to choose a realtor that seems right for the job. You don’t have to hire the first one you interview. Do your homework and interview several that seem to be the most in tune with what your area has to offer. Look for agents who’ve had success with recently sold properties in your neighborhood and ask friends and family that have had good realtor experiences for the name and number of their agent. And though it seems like a no-brainer, be sure you LIKE your agent as you’re likely going to be working together for the next several months.