You may think that autumn isn't the best time to showcase your home, but you'd be wrong. Yes, fall days are shorter, with fewer hours of daylight for buyers to see your home. There may be many days of grey skies, rain, or early snowfall.
But autumn has a unique appeal that's all its own. You can look forward to gathering with friends and loved ones by a crackling fire, play winter sports in the backyard, or walk on the beach without all the tourists. Most important, homebuyers are motivated; they want to move in before winter. Here are six tips to selling your home during the changing season.
Say welcome with fall decorations
One nice thing about fall décor is that you can put out pumpkins, gourds, scarecrows, and mums now, and they will last through Thanksgiving. Put a nice new welcome mat out for buyers and their agents to wipe their feet, and if it's been raining or snowing, provide booties that can be slipped on over shoes so mud or road salt aren't brought into your home. It's worth paying the neighborhood kids to keep your driveway and sidewalks clear of snow and slush.
Air out your home
As the weather cools, you may tend to shut windows and doors, but closed homes tend to hold odors, so make sure you open the windows for an occasional airing. Run the fans after cooking meals. Moisture also holds odor, so use the exhaust fans in the bathrooms after every bath and shower. While buyers are inside, keep temperatures moderate and even -- not too warm or cool.
Let the light in
We already know there's less sunlight in the fall and winter, so leave lights on for showings. It won't hurt to pump up the wattage in areas you really want buyers to see details, such as kitchens and baths. Open the drapes and keep windows as clean as possible for showings.
Cut out clutter
When your household spends more time indoors, it's natural for clutter to accumulate, but too much can have a smothering effect on buyers. Take special care to put coats and all-weather boots away.
Keep a basket in every room so that if you get a sudden showing, you and the rest of the family can do a five-minute cleanup before leaving the premises so your buyer can have some privacy. Store the baskets under the bed or some other place out of sight.
Stage Your Home for the Season
If you're selling a home in a ski resort, it's easy to play up the fun of cold weather. Otherwise, you may need a little imagination to stage your home. Ask your real estate professional for ideas, but consider these few to make your home cozy, toasty and inviting.
If you have a fireplace, turn it on, but low. Stage the seating with a comfy Fair Isle throw. If you can find one with snowflakes and reindeer, that's even better. Put some big fluffy pillows on the floor. Boil some apple cider with cinnamon, and let the delicious aroma waft through the house. Make a beautiful wreath for the front door out of the gorgeous gold and red leaves that have fallen in your neighborhood.
Family photos are supposed to be a no-no with one exception -- when they show the home to advantage. Make a quick-flip buyer's album that includes your beautiful garden in the spring, the backyard pool in the summer, and the gorgeous fall colors of your trees.
Tout the neighborhood
Where ever your home is, it's part of a community. Show it off! If your neighborhood offers a bike path, playground or community center, list them for the buyer in a feature sheet, and include pictures for your buyer's album.
Create a map to add to your feature sheet that shows how quickly the buyer can get to various amenities like the nearest grocery store, train stop, and other services. Be sure to point out places unique to your area like the corner book shop or dog groomer.
You can bring out the cozy best in your home by showing buyers that this is a great place to make pleasant memories.
Written by Blanche Evans