As everyone awakes from winter hibernation, many people’s thoughts turn to selling or buying a home in spring. It’s no surprise. The sun starts shining, the garden bounces back into life, flowers bloom, lawns look lush and green, and homes are once again filled with light and warmth. Chances are your property never looks more inviting and attractive to buyers. It’s the perfect time to sell, right? Well, not necessarily.
A MORE COMPETITIVE MARKET
There’s no doubt that most people’s houses look good in spring. And we’re always told that this is the best time to sell. The problem is everyone thinks this and so more houses are listed in spring. There’s often an oversupply of properties, creating a much more competitive market, and turning the best time to sell into the best time to buy.
On the positive side, more buyers mean a better chance of finding the right one. And if you sell in this market, you can also buy in the market too, so you can also make the most of the competition.
It’s also good to specifically think about your house, rather than the general market. While spring could be good in general, or for your suburb, is it right for you? Maybe your garden looks great with the autumn flush of colour? Or the sunlight and warmth in winter, or an open fire in the living room makes your home feel the best? And there’s no question that a beautiful pool is most inviting on a hot summer’s day.
BECOME A BUYER BEFORE YOU SELL
There is a theory that selling in a less competitive time means the buyers that are about are more serious. The lesson here is that you need to understand your specific market. How will you know if a valuation is in the right ball park unless you know what’s happening in your area? Research is vital before you take the next steps.
The best way is to act like a buyer in your suburb. Check out real estate websites and the local papers which are chockablock full of home advertisements. Visit home opens when you can to see your competition and what they’re asking (you can also see how they’re sprucing and presenting their homes to look their best). Auctions are a great way to get an idea of the prices people are paying and the level of excitement and interest in your suburb for similar properties.
One of the benefits of being an active participant in your area is that you’ll get to know the local real estate agents. Choosing the right agent is crucial. Obviously, you want one that’s getting good results but it’s just as important you like them and feel you can work well with them. You need to know that the advice they give is based on experience and a good knowledge of your local market.
LOOK YOUR BEST
We all know that the main reason people think selling in spring is a good idea is because it’s usually when homes can be seen in their best possible light. And it’s all about light. The extra sunshine brings gardens back to life. Natural light can fill the rooms. Swimming pools sparkle. And people don’t have to brave the cold and rain to make their way around the inspections.
There are a few key things you can do to really make a difference and give your home it’s best chance of selling.
Tidy up the garden. Get rid of the weeds, clip the hedges, fertilise and cut the lawn, pull out any plants that aren’t doing well and replace them with something new and healthy. Planting some annual flowers is a quick and easy way to add colour and vibrancy to any garden.
Give it a lick of paint. You don’t have to paint the whole house. A simple coat of white paint in places, and touching up edges and corners can make a huge difference.
Add some colour. Neutral colours are good because they appeal to a broader range of people but bring in some colour with cushions and other accessories.
Declutter and clean. Remove all the clutter to give a greater feeling of space, and tidy the place up, even organising cupboards and storage spaces like sheds and garages. Make sure all surfaces are clean and look their best. Think about cleaning carpets or polishing floorboards, and have all the windows clear and sparkling to let the light in.
Move out the family. People need to imagine themselves in the house so it’s a good idea to remove personal items like family photos, cute collages your kids made in kindy, and your pet’s bedding.
Fix the little things. Things that need repairing or replaced should all be done. People don’t want to think they’ll have to spend more money as soon as they move in.
On inspection day. Open it up and let the fresh air in. Add some fragrance and colour with cut flowers. Choose a time that suits your house and open up the curtains and blinds to make it feel bright, spacious and inviting.
No matter the season, to give your house the best chance of selling, the key is to really get to know your market. Watch it for a while, check out the other sellers to see asking prices and the tricks and tips they’re using to help sell. And speak to agents. In the end, however, the reasons you’re selling are your own so the best person to listen to is you.
Any advice contained in this article is of a general nature only and does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. Therefore, before making any decision, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice with regard to those matters. Information in this article is correct as of the date of publication and is subject to change.