7 Tips to Sell Your House This Fall

Posted on: September 9, 2021

The white-hot real estate market has cooled a bit in the last few months, but there is still plenty of time and opportunity for people who want to sell their homes before the snow flies.

Jen Harper, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Community Partners in Miamisburg, Ohio, attributes the market’s recent slow-down to a few key factors.

“We’re seeing more people put their houses up for sale, which means potential buyers have more choices,” she explains. “At the same time, demand is going down as some buyers take a pause — either they are tired of looking or decided to stay put now that the school year is underway.”

When the market was super-hot, sellers didn’t have to do much to attract offers, Harper says.

“In early spring 2021, people could put their house on the market in any condition at a premium asking price and someone would buy it,” she says. “But now, unattractive, overpriced houses are not selling. Right-priced houses in good shape still are, sometimes in just a few days.”

Harper, whose mother lives at Otterbein SeniorLife, recommends that homeowners interested in selling this fall follow seven tips for success.

1.  Clean up Your Home’s Exterior

Good first impressions are essential, and they start when prospective buyers park in front of your home. Be sure to pressure wash your driveway, sidewalk, and vinyl siding. Your mailbox should be clean and cobweb-free, too!

2.  Paint Your Front Door

You can’t go wrong with a fresh coat of paint on the front door. Before deciding whether to paint interior rooms, talk to your real estate agent. They should be able to recommend which walls (if any) should be painted and which colors to use.

3.  Check Your Landscaping

It’s chrysanthemum season, so don’t skimp on these cheerful fall flowers. Buy several pots (they’re cheap!) and replant the flowers in your front garden. A big, colorful arrangement on the front porch always says “welcome.”

4.  Make Those Windows Shine

Dust and smudges can build up on your windows and storm doors during the hot summer months. A little elbow grease and Windex can go a long way.

5.  Declutter

Clutter makes your house look messier and smaller and can prevent potential buyers from seeing its potential.

“I often recommend renting a ‘pod’ for items you can live without until your move — once it’s full, the pod company can remove and store it for you,” Harper says. “You also can put junk in the closets or garage — people will overlook what’s in the garage but not what’s piled up in spare bedrooms.”

6.  Clean Your Carpets

“Dirty carpets have an ‘ick factor’ that no one can get past,” Harper says. “If a carpet is in terrible shape, consider replacing it.”

7. Do a Sniff Test

Does your home have a distinctive odor? Since you live there, it may be difficult to tell. Ask a friend or neighbor to do a sniff test. Pet odors, septic smells, and other unpleasant scents are a definite turn-off during showings.

Next Steps to Get Your Home on the Market

Once your home is in ship shape, your real estate agent should hire a photographer to take great pictures for your online listing.

“Every buyer will see those pictures before they decide whether to request a showing. If your listing has only a few pictures or the lighting is bad or certain rooms aren’t photographed, potential buyers won’t even bother,” Harper says. “If your agent is taking pictures on a cell phone, you need a new agent.”

Choosing a real estate agent is perhaps the most critical decision you’ll make when it comes to selling your home, Harper adds.

“It’s important to find an agent who understands the local market well,” she says. “They’ll know how to market your home so that you sell it as quickly as possible with the best terms possible.”

What makes a good agent? Experience is important, but the real “X factor” Is personality.

“You want an agent who can build rapport with other agents, because people still want to do business with people they like and trust,” Harper says. “Don’t choose an agent from a sign or billboard — get a referral from friends and family who had a good experience with that person.”

Time is of the essence for people who want to sell their home. In a few months, the market will inevitably slow down as it always does during the winter. Interest rates — still at historic lows now — may rise. So, what are you waiting for?

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