Time is of the essence when trying to sell your home. If you want to close the deal before the last blossom falls off the cherry trees, you’ve got to start preparing in the winter. Sell your house quickly this spring by sprucing it up now.
From the Curb
After searching the internet and viewing pictures online, the first thing buyers see is the front landscape.
Uncut grass, weedy sod, and floppy bushes are a real turn-off. A messy yard tells the buyer that the property is neglected. Keep leaves off the lawn to prevent the lawn from developing snow mold and other diseases once spring arrives. As soon as it warms up, mow, edge, weed, and water. Plant native greenery in the flowerbeds with swamp milkweed, red columbine, passion flowers, and winterberry holly. Colorful flowers lure bees and butterflies.
Tidy the outside:
- Wash windows
- Trim trees away from windows
- Power wash the driveway to remove dirt and stains
- Repaint shutters, trim, window boxes, mailboxes, railings, and anything else that needs it
- Replace old lights with LED bulbs and new fixtures
- Buy new house numbers
Toss out the trash and declutter the garage and porch.
Even if your buyer is a DC native, they may be new to your neighborhood. When buyers visit, set out informational brochures that point out the nearest grocery store, dry cleaner, gas station, library, and golf course.
Make your home stand out among the neighborhood choices with new doors, windows, and backyard extras. Hire a real estate agent who knows architecture and can highlight the home’s unique characteristics, especially if it was built before 1960. Washington DC’s history is a draw in itself.
Show off the inside of your house in a spectacular way. If you hope to get top dollar (and who doesn’t), consider hiring a home stager to help buyers visualize what their own furniture could look like in each room. If you decide to DIY, focus on areas where people spend most of their time, like the kitchen, living room, bedrooms, and bathrooms. Remove photos, awards, religious pieces, clothing, and anything else that shows you – and not the buyer – live in this home. It may seem odd to put your personal items in storage, but doing so helps buyers imagine themselves in this setting.
Today’s homebuyer wants a house that works for itself. Smart Artificial Intelligence products like thermostats, electrical outlets, lighting, and door locks are only a few technology gadgets that bring the goods. Consult a tech expert on ways to upgrade your home.
Buyers also want a place to spread out and chill while they’re paying bills, interacting on social media, and playing games. If the house doesn’t have separate office space, create one with a couple of room dividers. Set up a table, power strip, computer, and comfy desk chair. Power up the WiFi.
Deep cleaning is something we never seem to have time for, but before the house goes on the market, the house must sparkle. “Clean” includes the top of kitchen cabinets, air ducts and vents, carpet corners, and underneath furniture … everything! While you’re at it, clear out closets and cabinets. No matter how big the house is, closet space is a premium.
Take a deep breath. Does the house have any unpleasant odors? Homes with smokers or pets can have hidden smells in carpet and upholstery. On the plus side, the aroma of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies is heavenly; leave some out for visitors to enjoy.
Your home was okay for you, but today’s buyer wants everything to be perfect before signing on the dotted line. That means no fixer-up projects, no unexpected structural damage, and no drama. For the new homeowner, springtime in DC is the beginning of cherry blossoms, American history, the Washington Nationals, and a great house-warming party.
*Lee Campbell is a house flipper, landlord, handyman and freelance writer. He loves to remodel and refurbish older homes and like most aspiring writers, is working on his novel.