The autumn real estate market is almost always a hot season. Families have returned from summer vacations. Kids have gone back to school. The holidays aren't upon us quite yet, at least not in September and October. You're set to enjoy 75 to 80 days of normalcy, and that can be a good time to sell a home.
We watch leaves explode in vibrant colors as For Sale signs pop up in yards in parts of the country with four seasons. People are happy and relaxed as the temperature begins to drop. It's not just sweater weather that creates static electricity in autumn. It's also the scurrying of agents diligently working to pop a few more sales into the hopper before third-quarter sales results are posted.
Still, November can be one of the slowest months of the year for home sales, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). If you need to sell a home in autumn, you'll want to do everything you can to attract a buyer. Here are some worthy tips for attracting the autumn home buyer.
- Selling a house in autumn requires some special touches to make the home attractive.
- A clean yard with popular autumn flowers and spotless windows can make your house stand out.
- New air filters, a fireplace without ashes, and fall treats help the interior of your home feel clean and welcoming.
- The right music and colors can create a fall ambiance that makes your home warm and inviting.
Clean Up the Yard
You'll want to ensure that your front lawn looks neat and tidy when potential buyers arrive at showings. Create a to-do list and send the whole family to work outside.
Rake up dead leaves and debris from your lawn. Don't let overgrown vegetation block the windows or the path to the entrance. Cutting bushes and tree limbs back will let the sun inside and showcase the exterior of your home. Cutaway summer vines and cut down dead flowers. Make the most of the autumn weather in the fall real estate market.
Create Autumn Curb Appeal
The most popular autumn flowers are chrysanthemums (or mums), and they bloom for a long time. Marigolds are another good idea for fall. Both mums and marigolds are available in yellow, a number one home selling color. Plant them in pots, then place the pots on the steps and along the sidewalk. Accent with pumpkins or other types of squash.
Dress the Windows
Rain and wind from the summer months can make your windows dusty and streaked by the time late fall rolls around. You might not notice smudges, but buyers will, if only on a subconscious level. Your windows have to sparkle to sell your home. Maybe your cats routinely rub their little noses on the inside glass while they're walking along window ledges. Wash your windows inside and out every autumn. Remove screens, and spray them down.
Check the HVAC
You want the air inside your home to smell fresh. When was the last time you changed your furnace filter? You can buy 90-day furnace filters.
Check the HVAC system before you need to turn on the heater. A buyer will almost certainly ask a home inspector to look at it. Some buyers will waive a home inspection contingency when they make an offer on your home, but this number is dropping, so you should anticipate having an inspection on your home. NAR indicates that 27% of buyers waived this contingency in July 2021, but that dropped to just 19% by December 2021.
It's better to fix problems with your furnace before your home goes on the market.
Clean Out the Fireplace
Nothing smells of autumn quite like smoke from a wood-burning fireplace. Unfortunately, burning wood indoors or outdoors is outlawed in some parts of the country. You can light your gas fireplace when buyers come through if you have one. Vacuum the fireplace and wash it down if it's filled with cobwebs because it hasn't been used for months.
Some home stagers arrange knick knacks in the fireplace in place of wood logs.
About Those Bathrooms
Take a quick peek in your bathrooms prior to hosting a showing. You're going to want to give the whole bathroom a good cleaning before inviting prospective buyers if there are mildew marks in the bath or shower. Buyers are especially tuned in to how problematic mildew and mold can be in older bathrooms.
Prepare Autumn Edibles
Speaking of autumn scents, you might want to set out freshly baked pumpkin cupcakes or simmer some hot apple cider on the stove. Put a tray of cinnamon sticks on the counter, dotted with whole cloves. Prop open a cookbook to an autumn stew recipe. Fill a bowl with crisp red apples.
Set the Mood With Music
Think beyond "See You in September." German beer festivals are often held in October, but polka music and accordions aren't appropriate for autumn home selling. You'll be better off with Enya's "The First of Autumn" or George Winston's new age piano album "Autumn."
Use Autumn Accent Colors
You don't have to dump that lifeless sofa. Accessorize its dullness with bright red, orange and/or golden yellow pillows instead. Toss a quilt or autumn-colored throw over a chair. Bring a few autumn hues to each room by placing bold-colored accent pieces in odd groupings, such as threes and fives.
Create an autumn centerpiece for the dining room table by arranging pine cones and nuts around orange candles. Stick in a few leaves from the yard.
Turn on the Lights
Above all, bring in the light. The sun sets lower in the horizon and casts wider shadows when days get shorter. Pull up the blinds, open the shutters, and push back the drapes on every window. Turn on every light in the house, including appliance lights and those in closets. Brighten darker rooms with few windows by placing spotlights on the floor behind furniture.
Offer Parting Treats
Gathering buyer feedback can be crucial. Consider leaving a guestbook by the door for people to leave comments about the home. They'll feel more compelled to leave you a note if you give them something in return, like tiny packets of candy corn or those snack-sized candy bars. Or you can go all out and leave a tray of individually wrapped caramelized apples, tied with a curling ribbon.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long does it take to sell a home?
Homes spent an average of 18 days on the market in February 2022. This was down from 20 days a year earlier. Numerous factors can affect how long it takes to get a house in contract, including the economy, the area of the country, and the season.
What do buyers look for when buying a home?
The typical home purchased in 2021 was about 1,900 square feet with three bedrooms and two baths, according to NAR. Buyers also stressed the importance proximity to family and friends, neighborhood, and affordability.