The end of January brings the winter doldrums, winter weather, and for some, thoughts of selling the house come spring.
If you've been thinking about packing up and moving out once the weather warms up, you wouldn't be alone. Generally, you'll find that in most cities and towns in our area, inventory begins to increase from its low winter levels starting in April or May, and the for sale signs, it seems, begin to pop up everywhere.
The market comes alive as winter-shopping buyers that have been holding out for "the-perfect-house-for-them" finally have more options to choose from.
While there is no perfect recipe for "timing" the market, there is a period in the late winter/early spring when inventory is still low enough, and when serious buyers are plenty enough, that may be the perfect time to list your house.
This is during the rise of inventory in the market place: when buyer activity is increasing and eager, yet your competition is still less than it will be later in the season.
For you, that means that the odds of showings being scheduled are higher, and therefore your chances of getting an offer and a contract would theoretically be greater, too.
Here are three things you can do now to get ready to list this selling season.
1. Declutter. Probably one of the most vital elements of getting ready to list your house, is to make it look like you actually want to sell it. Buyers need to be able to picture themselves living in your house, and they can't do that if your stuff is packed into every nook and cranny of space.
Even if your house is sparkling clean, your personal items can be a potential turnoff to would-be buyers. Sell or donate the things that you won't be taking with you with the move, and consider renting a storage unit to stow away those things that you won't be needing, and will be taking, to make your home as clutter-free as possible.
2. Depersonalize. With the goal in mind to allow a buyer a vision of himself buying and living in your home, a neutral palette is best. For example, those brightly colored walls could be painted a more neutral color. Family pictures and the kid's artwork on the fridge should be stored away.
3. Decide. You've decided to list you house for sale, so decide that it's going to sell. In doing so, it's helpful to think of your home, no longer as "your home." Instead, it's a "house" that's listed for sale on the open market to a pool of buyers who have other houses to choose from. You may think your house is the best; the key is to have yours stand out to the buyer, as the one that they can picture themselves putting an offer on.
Mid-winter is a great time to get your house ready for sale. No matter if you choose to put the for sale sign out earlier, or later, in the spring selling season, the pre-work that you do now can only help to add the "SOLD" sign to the sign post.