Home Selling Tips for the Fall

Yesterday was the autumn equinox and the first official day of fall.  Summer, which is traditionally the best season for selling a home, has ended by calendar standards.  This tends to be the time of year when the housing market starts to slow down, with fewer homes selling.  There are some steps which can be taken in order to increase its appeal to potential home buyers.  If your goal is to sell your home this fall, take these tips into consideration:

1.  First Impressions.  Selling a home in autumn has its own particular complications.  Green lawns, colorful flowers, and bright sunny days:  In the summertime, it’s easy to make a house look good.  Though the fall red, orange, rust, and yellow colors are beautiful, it’s when the leaves fall that the trouble starts.  A blanket of crinkly leaves atop a brown lawn is not attractive and will detract some from the curb appeal of your home.  If the ground isn’t frozen, you can continue with your regular lawn care: water the grass, trim brown plants, and rake up the leaves often.  Place potted mums and pansies in the front of the home to add an extra splash of color.

2.  Light Up Your Life.  There is less and less natural sunlight peeking into the windows as the days get shorter, but a dark home is uninviting.  To counter this, open all of the drapes and blinds in your home when showing it to let in the most sunlight.  To make the most of the sun’s rays, clean the windows to a shine.  On dark days, switch on table lamps, standing lamps, or overhead lights so each room is well lit.

3.  Fresh Paint.  The windows are spotless, the blinds are open, and the lights are on, yet your house still looks dark.  This is when it may be time to consider a new coat of paint.  This could be a good time to try out the latest interior fall color trends.  Don’t overdo it though, in case your color scheme doesn’t match a potential buyer’s.  However, even some neutral colors can make a room brighter. 

4.  Seasonal Celebration.  When selling a home, decorate it for the season, but don’t take it too far.  Adding an autumn wreath to the front door can be eye-catching.  A centerpiece display of gourds on a dining room table or a few pumpkins turned into Jack-O-Lanterns on your front porch can charm would-be buyers.  However, seasonal embellishments should be restricted and in good taste.  Too many holiday decorations of any kind can be distracting to buyers.

5.  Reduce Clutter.  When the days get shorter, more buyers are likely to tour your home at dusk or after dark.  Without the spacious feel that sunlight and open windows offer, an already cluttered home can feel more cramped.  Minimize the amount of furniture, knickknacks, and other items around the house that make the home more personal to you.  Remember, when it comes to sparking the imagination of a potential buyer, less truly is more.  You want them to be able to imagine their own stuff inside your home, not be distracted by all of your stuff.

6.  Colorful Accents.  That doesn’t mean that embellishments are out of the question.  Accenting your home with warm, fall colors in a festive and sophisticated manner can make your home much more attractive to potential buyers.  Though neutral hues are recommended when selling a house, brightening your home’s interior with throw pillows, small area rugs, and other accents in vibrant, autumn colors.  Try out a few looks that you like, but don’t over-do it:  You don’t want to cancel out your de-cluttering project!

7.  Arousing Aromas.  If you're a smoker or have pets, there may be a smell to the inside of your home.  You might notice it, because your nose may be used to it.  Any scents could be emphasized once it gets cold enough that the windows are closed.  There are ways to eliminate the offensive odor before it reaches a potential buyer’s nose.  The first step is to clean thoroughly.  The second step is to fill the house with an appealing scent.  To do this, you can bake cookies, bake a pie, warm mulled apple cider on the stove, or boil a seasonal potpourri.  There are also scented candles which can be purchased.

8.  Keep it Warm.  If a dimly-lit house is unappealing, a cold house is just as unattractive.  Additionally, a cold home can also lead a potential buyer to believe it is costly to heat.  Make your home feel cozy by maintaining a warm and comfortable temperature during showings. If you have a fireplace, build a fire or turn on the gas logs.  Fireplaces are great selling features when it comes to homes in places like Minnesota where the temperature drops during the fall and winter.

9.  Add an Ambiance.  Feel, sight and smell have been covered, but at least one other of the senses can be roused: hearing.  Music doesn’t just sooth the savage beast, it can be used to help encourage a relaxed atmosphere that feels like home to a potential buyer.  Play some light jazz, classical, or even holiday music when a potential buyer comes to your home.  Set the music at a low volume, however, so it doesn’t become a distraction or overpower conversation. 

10.  Update Marketing Photos.  During the summer, having pictures of your home covered in snow circulating when you’re trying to sell it can date how long it has been on the market.  Potential home buyers tend to wonder what is wrong with a home when it has been up for sale a long time.  Now that it’s fall, if you still have winter pictures from last year it could certainly spell trouble.  After you’ve cleaned up the interior and exterior, take new photos of the home to post on-line.

Though the busiest home selling season has passed, it doesn’t mean you will have to wait until next year to sell your home.  Favorable interest rates and many home buyer programs could make this fall season a great time sell your home.  Maximize your home’s by doing what you can to improve its appearance.

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