20 tips for selling your home in Autumn in Huntsville
Fall is the second best time of the year to sell. Think about it: the vacations and trips of summer are over, and the craziness of the holidays aren’t yet upon us. People are relaxed, joyful, and revved up for outdoor activities and new beginnings. There aren’t as many homes on the market now as there were in the Spring and Summer months- but there’s also less buyers. If you use these steps to prep and price right (and choose the right Realtor), your house can jump ahead of the pack and sell quickly- getting you into a new home before the holidays.
- Set the Mood
- There are SO many opportunities to make an emotional connection with buyers in this season. Woo with smells, sounds, fall decor, and general coziness. Prepare autumn dishes. Simmer wassail or apple cider. Wassail Recipe Have freshly baked pumpkin bread or snickerdoodles out. Switch on a pie scented burner. Fill a bowl with fresh red apples. Open a cookbook to a hearty brunswick stew on your counter cookbook stand. Leave cinnamon sticks and cloves on a dish in the dining room or wherever a fresh smell is needed. For showings, play a piano CD (or Enya works well) or turn the TV or computer to a fall-themed music channel.
- Clean Up The Yard
- Rake leaves and keep the yard cleared. Buyers want to see the yard no matter the season. Cut down dead or dying plants and flowers. Cut away branches and limbs so that walkways and windows are cleared- allowing the most light in. Trim bushes. Cut away vines grown large in summer. Clean the gutters. Clear mold and mildew from porches and decks.
- Create Autumn Curb Appeal
- Put out potted plants lining the steps or walk. Yellow flowers are a great color and yellow is associated with home selling. Chrysanthemums, pansies,marigolds, helenium and mums are great fall choices. Examples here, and here. Beautiful Autumn porch planter ideas here and here. The Greenery, in Hampton Cove can give you GREAT advice, greenery, and garden decor. Use pumpkins and gourds as accents (example here, here, and here). Wash pumpkins with bleach water to make them last longer. Get $3 bags of mulch from the garden store and cover your beds and around trees. Send us a photo if you need help choosing the right mulch color. Put fresh flowers in window boxes, or remove dying flowers completely and cover with fresh soil. Create a lovely fall scene on the front porch if you have one. Ideas here and here. Buyers will imagine sitting and watching the world go by. Even just a chair or rocker with a small side table sets the stage.
- Light It Up
- Lighting is more important in the fall, when days are shorter. People will drive-by to look at your house- those that look after work will likely be seeing your house house in twilight or darkness. Set yourself apart from the competition by lighting the For Sale sign. If you can swing it, place landscape spotlights pointed towards the house, like this. They make a house look AMAZING at night. Line the walkway to the door with lights- you can get cheap walkway lights at Target or even Dollar Tree. Light up the inside at night and open drapes throughout the day and night when you can- it really makes the house appear lively. And of course when people tour the home, turn on EVERY single light and lamp in the house, even exterior lights.
- Accommodate Earlier Showings
- As the days get shorter, expect to have more afternoon and early afternoon showing requests in the fall, and plan it so that your home is available to show on little or no notice as much as possible. With fewer buyers in the fall, you’ll really want to make sure you accommodate buyers when they want to tour the home. Try this tip for keeping the home showing ready when you leave for work each day.
- Price It Right
- This is of course the most important thing you can do in any season. However, in the fall, the market has less tolerance for “testing” a higher price. Price too high and your home will sit on the market while others sell. Get serious about pricing right, get it done quickly, and move on! Your Realtor should be WELL versed in pricing and should provide you with a price range for you to choose from (or they can pinpoint an exact price for you). The Realtor you choose should be experienced in selling homes at close to list price throughout ALL seasons.
- Get The Windows Right
- Rain, wind, little handprint smudges, and pets can leave your windows looking less than crystal clear by summers’ end. This is one of those things you may not pay much attention. Stand at the curb, stand near the house, and check those windows for cleanliness. Wash them on the inside and out. Remove screens, spray them with the hose, and replace. Sparkly windows help buyers see the home as taken care of. See how to keep your windows clean for months with this tip.
- Clean and Test HVAC (or furnace)
- The air needs to smell fresh. You don’t want to turn the heat on before a showing, only to realize there’s a weird smell or odd sound or-!-it isn’t working at all. Replace the air filters in your system or furnace. Have the HVAC checked. Joe East Heating & Cooling here in Madison County are great at answering questions or servicing a unit quickly. Check them out here. Buyers LOVE to hear that a company has serviced an HVAC unit of a home they’re looking at- they feel like it’s one less thing they have to worry about.
- Prepare the Fireplace
- Clean out the fireplace. Clean out the cobwebs and wash the whole thing out. Spray paint the inside with heat-resistant paint. If your fireplace is non-functional, consider styling it like here and here– or this really cool and inexpensive DIY idea here. If you have ventless logs, make sure your setup is up to code- ask your Realtor to provide you with the information.
- Dress the Table Autumn Style
- Keep it Cozy
- When it turns cold out, turn that heat up. Fall is the perfect time to really crank up the cozy and this is an easy way to make an emotional connection with buyers. Buyers, if only subconsciously, will imagine coming home from the cold to a comfortable, inviting home. Turn the heat up especially during showings. If you’re leaving your house in the morning with the possibility that you might get a showing while you’re gone, leave the heat at a toasty level. Or get one of the systems that lets you control the temp from your smartphone. If you keep it turned down while you’re gone, turn it up 30 minutes before buyers are set to come through. Place a warm, fuzzy blanket on the back of a chair or better yet, stage a basket of overflowing warm blankets near sitting areas in living rooms and bedrooms. Turn the fireplace on for showings. No fireplace? You can actually buy a DVD of a crackling scene and leave it playing. Sounds silly- but works to give it that fall feel!
- Autumn Accent Colors
- After you’ve majorly decluttered and depersonalized all rooms (see decluttering tips here), add in pops of autumn colors. Accent pillows, cloth napkins, candles, other accessories. Use yellows, reds, burgundies, oranges. Spruce up an old sofa with autumn-hued pillows. Color inspiration here. Stage place settings using these colors (see #10 for examples), arrange a fall centerpiece (#10). Use groupings of 3 and 5 for smaller accessories. Big, bold accessories work well also when selling. When you sell your house with a Blueprint Row Realtor, we take care of rearranging, planning, and adding accessories where needed to show your house in the best light.
- Paint the Front Door an Autumn Friendly Color
- Really painting the door any dark or neutral color would work. Use an autumn-friendly color if it works with your exterior color (not sure? send us a picture of your house and we’ll send you some color suggestions here). ENTER OUR WIN A FRONT DOOR MAKEOVER CONTEST HERE (link to our Facebook contest goes live 10.3.15)!!! Deep burgundy, bright yellow, navy all work well also. A newly painted door with even an inexpensive new doorknob really makes a difference. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken buyers through a home with a new door fixture and a crisp paint job and have had it make such a positive impression on them.
- Spruce Up the Mailbox
- Similar to painting the front door, this is one of those smaller details that you might not think about, but that makes a great impression for not a lot of cost of trouble. I’ve grabbed a can of spray paint and quickly given a mailbox a few coats, with great results.
- Move-In Ready is More Important in Fall
- A move-in ready home is more important in the fall and winter months. As the weather turns colder, people are less likely to want to tackle home improvement projects. And as the holidays approach, people are busier with less time to devote to home projects. Move-in ready homes are what’s desired these days. Not only do you get more money, it’s almost always worth it price-wise to fix small repairs and do any small projects before you sell. Paint, fix broken screens, replace burnt out mismatched bulbs, broken switchplates, replace carpet, etc.
- Stage It
- I really cannot emphasize the importance and effect of good and proper staging on getting the best price and getting the quickest sell. There are many things you can do on your own. We have a Staging & Design arm of the company- Mint Design & Staging Co. that partners with all of our listings to offer many levels of staging packages. ALL of our clients receive the right level of complimentary staging. If you’re using another Realtor who doesn’t offer staging, you can contact staging companies yourself to get your house staged. Mint Design & Staging Company here. We post more tips regularly on our blog.
- Increase the Web Appeal
- 89% of home buyers start their search online now. HD photos are a MUST these days. I highly recommend getting a pro to take these shots. Tip if using a Realtor: A great Realtor will arrange to have the home shot by a pro photographer. (See the difference here.) Don’t just stop at the regular shots of the inside and outside- get detail shots and shots that invoke emotion. HD video, a dedicated website for your home, postings on all online listing sites, and great listing descriptions also help your home sell itself online. An amazing 3d home tour is another way our listings stand apart. 3D web tour example here.
- Choose a Realtor Who Does More Than the Bare Minimum
- Does your Realtor have a dedicated marketing team? Ask how many homes they’ve sold this year and how close they get to list price for them. Do they have testimonials from other clients they can show you? Do they have professional or education background in Marketing? Does their yard sign look clean, crisp and modern and does it advertise your home rather than their company or their face? If you’d like a list of questions to ask a potential Realtor emailed to you, click here.
- Eliminate Clutter
- Our staging company consistently says this is the #1 staging tip. #1, people! That means, yep, edit, edit, edit. Eliminate half of your belongings if possible: go ahead and pack up what you don’t need- move it to the new house or put it in storage. It WILL make a HUGE difference to how buyers perceive the house. Closets, cabinets, and other storage areas should be 30% full at MAX. Studies and many buyer tours show that having less items gives the look and feel of more space. Lose extra furniture and accessories. A dining table doesn’t need more than four chairs in the room (unless we’re talking huge room and huge table). Bedrooms look great with a bed and a few other pieces. See a visual here.
- Use Blueprint Row Realtors! We stage each house appropriately. Each home receives a dedicated web and print specialist to create professional online and in-person marketing plans. Each clients works with a Realtor as well as has access to their dedicated Client Experience specialist and 24/7 access to our Client Service Team. Each home is photographed in HD and receives a styled HD listing video. In addition, each of our clients receives a concierge package of their choosing. Inquire today about what that means for you! Request information or a copy of our Listing Presentation by emailing email@example.com.
Offer a Parting GiftStudies show that giving guests something entices them to leave you something- in this case, feedback on your house. Leave a guest book (template here) by the door for buyers to sign and leave comments. A small gift could be a small bag of candy, something homemade like candy apples, or a non-edible treat. Giving buyers something will also help them remember your house. Buyers can see as many as ten houses in a day- make them remember your house! Bonus points for giving them something with a great photo of your home on it- like a gift tag with the home’s photo tied to the candy bag.