The stars are aligning for home sellers this spring with tight inventory levels, still-low mortgage rates, and an improving job market. It’s all pushing would-be buyers to finally check out open houses. If you've been waiting for home prices to rebound before making a move to list, it might be time to call in a real estate agent and ask for comparables.
The biggest driver for sellers? Prices are on the rise. The national median existing-home price stood at $208,500 in 2014 and is forecast to jump in 2015 to $218,300, according to the National Association of Realtors. Unsold inventory of homes on the market is at a 4.6 months' supply through February, which is considered tight by NAR historical data; the industry group pegs a balanced housing market at around a 6 to 6.5 months' supply.
If you want to try for top dollar for your home and move the property fast, you still need to take time to prepare. Does your deck need repainting? Does the living room seem small? Are you short on storage space?
Here are some tips to help you boost the return on your investment with a quick and well-priced sale.
Call in the lawn guys. It all starts with curb appeal. As potential buyers drive by your property, make sure they find attractive and clean landscaping. If your budget allows, tap professional landscapers. Plant bright new flowers that are already in bloom in the beds and sweep away all the dead leaves from last fall. First impressions matter. Clean your gutters, and think about a fresh coat of paint on your front door. Make sure your doorbell works and the brass knocker is shiny and bright.
Do a deep spring cleaning. Inside the house, corral the clutter and make sure every surface sparkles. Once that sign goes up in your front yard, your place has become a product—it’s no longer your home. Make it easy for homebuyers to get in for showings on short notice by keeping things picture-perfect clean.
Consider getting a home inspection. Once your home goes under contract, potential buyers will likely get a home inspection. Beat them to the punch by finding out what a home inspector will discover during the inspection. A home inspection could run from $350 to $1,000 depending on the size of the property, but it could also help a potential sale from falling apart. If your home inspector discovers some minor problems, be proactive and get them fixed ahead of time.
Start packing. If you are serious about moving, get out the boxes and start packing now. Potential buyers want to see that there is plenty of space for their things in the rooms and closets. Pack away your winter clothes and put them into storage. Take out that extra sofa in your living room to make the space appear larger.
When it comes to selling your home, preparation is key. With a little work ahead of time, you could be signing on the dotted line by Memorial Day and calling in the moving trucks.