Fall is finally here and we have the weather to prove it. Cool temperatures and fall colors can mark the beginning of one more big home sales push. There is certainly a group of buyers out there who see the holidays as the finish line for their next home purchase, and they are ready to buy now.
The new season can bring with it some challenges for homeowners — challenges that could affect the marketability of your home.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Clean your gutters at least monthly. Unless you have the best gutter guards in the world and no trees to speak of, cleaning your gutters is a must. Gutters can pack with leaves and debris in a matter of a week during the fall season. When this happens, gutters tend to overflow which is a bad thing for a buyer to see while visiting your home. This simple maintenance project can cause so many more problems, such as water in your basement. If you want to see a buyer run for the hills quickly, just let them view your home during a fall rainstorm and discover water in your basement. It can be a sure-fire deal killer. If you cannot keep up with your gutters during fall, please hire it out. Usually you can have all of your gutters cleaned for around $100 depending on the size of your home.
Keep up with the leaves. Although the fall foliage is certainly beautiful, to a potential homeowner a yard covered with leaves just looks like an ongoing project that they will have to keep up with for three or so months out of the year. Do your best to keep your leaves picked up as much as possible. And again, if it is too much for you to personally keep up with, please hire it out. The cost to have a lawn company pick up your leaves is much less than the cost of a discouraged home buyer. Plus, if you want your home to “pop” during the fall, let it be the one with the manicured lawn while everyone else’s is covered with leaves.
Decorate your home. Fall decorations are not only fun, they also suggest that the holiday season is not far away. Decorating your home for Halloween or Thanksgiving not only shows a personal side of you, it also suggests that time is of the essence. In some cases I have seen it create an awareness that time is not on the buyer’s side if they don’t want to be moving with snow on the ground. I think that it is good for a buyer to see a personal side of the seller so that they are seen as a real person and not just a home seller. Sometimes that can help to ease the entire process.
Open the windows a bit. Every home has its own scent. Most of us grow accustom to our owns homes smells and don’t notice them anymore. For that reason, it never hurts to let a little fresh air in during this incredible weather season. Especially if you have pets in your home. If you are going to leave windows open for showings, please clean out the window sills. Buyers will tend to walk over to open windows and you don’t want them to see a year’s worth of window sill dirt.
Have your furnace serviced. One of the most common items to come up during the inspection process is a neglected furnace with rust and corrosion build up. Before the HVAC companies get slammed with business after it gets really cold, call them out to service your furnace to not only clean it but to ensure that it is operating safely. If you have an older furnace, this is very important. Cracks in your heat exchanger in your furnace can cause carbon monoxide to be pumped into your home. Please don’t wait until it is too late. Stay on top of this one.