Spring is a great time to sell a house. And here in Northeast Ohio, spring comes early — at least in the real estate market.
Families who want to move before the start of the school year start searching for houses in February. That seems early, but keep in mind that many homes are on the market for an average of 45 days. Add another 60 to 120 days for closing, and before you know it, summer’s here.
If you’re thinking about selling your house next year, right now is a good time to get professional, high-quality photographs of your home and property. Buyers increasingly are doing their preliminary shopping online through real estate websites such as Zillow. First impressions count, and those photographs both inside and outside of homes can either draw buyers in or chase them away.
Most homes look their best when landscaping is in full bloom and trees have leaves on them. At the very least, snow should not mask details of the property.
Get professional photographs now of the outside of the house. Showcase the landscaping and mature trees. Photos free of snow and ice allow prospective buyers to check out the roof, and the condition of walkways and the driveway, outbuildings, decks and porches.
Have the professional get shots of the outdoor seating areas with furniture, tables and the grill. That gives buyers an opportunity to picture how they might use outdoor spaces.
Snow and ice hamper exterior shots, and the cloudy days that accompany them affect interior shots, too.
The bright light of late summer and fall is a good time to get those inside photos. Our cloudy winter days make rooms look dim and drab. Bright, clean interiors attract buyers.
To generate interest in your home next year, get in touch with a real estate professional today and have photographs taken and available to post online at the end of winter....
Eye for Design
Attract Buyers with Easy Updates
By Dianna Hosta-Stickney
Thinking about selling your house? Try looking at it through buyers’ eyes.
Shiny brass light fixtures, maroon walls and sculptured carpeting may be fine for you, but those outdated details could be a turnoff to prospective buyers.
Realtors see it all the time. Many people, especially as they age, get a bit lackadaisical with keeping up on the latest decorating trends. Brass-tone fixtures, deep paint colors and wall-to-wall carpeting had their heyday decades ago. Today, they’re a turnoff for younger buyers, who take design cues from HGTV shows and glossy home décor magazines.
On the positive side, sellers in their 50s, 60s and 70s generally keep their homes well maintained. The roof, furnace and other major items often are in good shape for buyers. But what about the rest of the house — particularly the inside — if a move is in your future?
Consider freshening up one or two rooms or tackling a design project each year until the entire house is updated. Design experts say trends such as paint color tones and decorative finishes generally stay in style for 10 to 12 years, so use that as a general guide.
If you like green, try a tone that’s more in line with today’s style trends. Yesterday’s hunter green is today’s sage or pistachio green. Pay attention to the tone, not just the color. Unsure of design trends? Check out one of the many home improvement shows on HGTV or grab a few design magazines and see what’s popular. Right now, grays are hot.
Visit a home improvement store and pay attention to the display in the lighting department. If you don’t see anything hanging there that’s similar to what’s in your home, consider an update....
Downsize or Right-Size?
Find Your Housing Fit
By Dianna Hosta-Stickney
Adult “boomerang” children. Aging parents. Grandkids.
We may want to downsize as we get older, but a better choice may be “right-sizing” — finding a home that suits not only the way we live but also new family configurations.
Who’s Living with You?
A sprawling home and spacious backyard that was perfect for active toddlers and teens may not have the features that someone in their 50s, 60s or 70s needs or wants. Those who are thinking about how they live today don’t necessary want less space — they want better space.
Housing needs often are determined by who’s living with you. That’s why smaller isn’t always better. If an older loved one is moving in, then maybe you want an in-law suite or two master suites. Accessibility is vital; keep steps to a minimum or eliminate them.
If an adult child needs temporary housing — a job interruption or divorce are two common reasons — then an extra bedroom and bathroom or two may be on your must-have list when house hunting.
And if you find yourself raising grandkids, then space that works for you (easy upkeep, plenty of first-floor living space) and for kids adds another dimension to right-sizing as we age. Sometimes, renovating an existing home can accommodate a variety of ages and needs.
How Do You Live?
In other situations, finding a new home is the best choice. Here’s what is on many house hunters’ lists:
- No “dead space” rooms. Forget the hands-off living room, or overdone media theaters. Rooms have to suit the way you live today.
- Open floor plans are great for entertaining extended family and friends, and allow for better access and movement.
Boost Home Value with Curb Appeal Fixups
By Dianna Hosta-Stickney
If you’re thinking about selling your house, spring is prime season — especially in climates like ours in Northeast Ohio.
The good news is that it’s a seller’s market. Home prices throughout the region are holding steady or gaining ground. Plenty of financing options are getting more people into buying mode and providing a deep pool of potential buyers.
Winter can make even the best maintained house look a bit worn. Money and time spent on the outside can pay off big when you sell your house. A home only gets one chance to make the best first impression.
Look at the outside of your home the way a new home buyer would. Does the trim need repainted? Is the siding dirty? Power washing decks, siding, porches and the driveway can bring them back to life with a well-maintained, sparkling look.
Give the entryways an especially critical look. Fresh paint, shiny brass kick plates and exterior lights that match (and work) make a home look welcoming and cared for.
- Wash windows
- Make sure the garage door is clean and operates smoothly
- Sweep leaves and brush from entryways
- Spread fresh mulch in flower beds
- Double check that address numbers are visible and easy to read
- Trim overgrown shrubs
- Tack up drooping gutters that may have ice damage
- Reseal the driveway
If you’re working with a budget (and who isn’t?), talk to a Realtor before spending money on expensive exterior fix-ups this spring. Maybe your money would be better spent on window repairs than power washing or landscaping. A Realtor can tell you what exterior features are a selling point in your neighborhood and can guide you on the best use of your pre-sale dollars.
Dianna Hosta-Stickney works in Middleburg Heights and Strongsville, where she is a real estate consultant with Cutler Real Estate....