If you're planning to put your house on the market this summer – and you hope to have it sold in time for the September school season – the clock is ticking. Even before you meet with a realtor, you need to get your house, and yourself, ready to capitalize on the sizzling summer selling season, when 60% of all homes are bought and sold!
Here are 6 essential steps to take now in order to be sale-ready after Memorial Day:
1. Tackle The Obvious Repairs
If you're planning to list your home at the start of summer, you now have 30 to 45 days to tackle all the necessary and obvious repairs. Why is it so important to check these off your to-do list ahead of time? First and foremost, it'll prevent potential buyers from being distracted as they tour your home. Instead of making a mental list of what needs to be fixed, they'll be able to focus on your home's positive qualities. You'll also save time (and money) later by avoiding back-and-forth negotiations over minor repair issues. And doing the repairs yourself, ahead of time, saves you from having to foot the bill for the estimated, and often over-inflated, cost of repairs! (Your actual cost will almost always be less than a buyer's post-inspection estimate).
2. Remove Your Clutter And Junk Now
Clutter eats equity and kills deals. Period. It's time to declutter, freeing up more visual space in your home. Look at each item in your house, and decide to save it, store it, sell it, or chuck it. The concept that 'less is more' is at the heart of making a home sellable. Once you've gotten rid of what you're not using, edit and organize the rest. Living space is an extremely precious commodity, and a little extra breathing room, along with a sense of expansiveness, makes your home feels luxurious, calming, and uplifting. And, as obvious as this seems, a buyer will naturally be drawn to, and pay more for, a home that feels bigger.
3. Depersonalize Your Home
I guarantee there is far too much of "you" in your house. It's time to take down the collectibles, family heirlooms, school photos, and other highly personal mementos. Not that those treasures aren't amazing – I have a house full of family heirlooms, but now's not their time in the spotlight. I recommend this, because when it comes to selling, you want a slate that's blank enough to allow potential buyers to visualize themselves in the home, and to them, your memorabilia is just more stuff, so put it away for now!
4. Remove Anything Polarizing
When clearing out the house, remove any controversial elements – which translates primarily to anything religious or political. Many people have strong emotional reactions to these types of items. Don't give your buyer a chance to prejudge your home because of your political or religious beliefs.
5. Pump Up the Curb Appeal
First impressions are everything, and a pretty face, err façade, will get buyers in the front door. Right now, you can get a jump on your curb appeal by taking advantage of the spring growing season. This is the time to plant grass and flowering plants. And don't forget to trim up the trees and bushes. By sale day, your curb appeal will be in full bloom and ready for the stream of willing buyers. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. That's why curb appeal – the way your house looks from the street – is so critical.
6. Get A Reality Check
We all have an idea of what our house is worth, but I can promise you that those self-appraisals are not going to be objective. An educated seller makes smarter decisions. Give yourself a reality check with Trulia's new home estimate tool. It'll give you an automated value estimate and help you connect with agents who can give you an even more detailed and accurate price. For some homes, it'll also show you what other homes in your area have recently sold for—this is helpful for getting to know the competition. To be extra thorough, explore similar homes in your neighborhood on Trulia. A quick survey of other homes in the area will be immensely helpful for helping you get to that perfect list price.
Getting a head start on the summer sale season by preparing your house (and yourself) gives you a significant leg up come list time. A bonus pay off: Your agent will be thrilled to know that you've done your homework and have a realistic view of what your house is really worth!
This article 6 Essential Tips To Sell Your House This Summer originally appeared on Trulia Tips.
Take advantage of this little-known tax "loophole"
Recent tax increases have affected nearly every American homeowner and taxpayer. But with the right planning, you can take steps to take control of your taxes and potentially even lower your tax bill. In our brand-new special report "The IRS Is Daring You to Make This Investment Now!," you'll learn about the simple strategy to take advantage of a little-known IRS rule. Don't miss out on advice that could help you cut taxes for decades to come. Click here to learn more.
SELLERS: What's the first thing you're doing to get your home ready to be shown and sold?
The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.