Thinking about Selling Your Northern Virginia Home this spring? You’re Way Behind!

So you’re considering selling your home in Fairfax, Woodbridge, Alexandria or any other area of Northern Virginia?  Why not? It’s shaping up to be a hot seller’s market and really, how many more of these can we expect with interest rates heading up and home prices already passing 7 times annual household incomes for many parts in our area.  I’d say this certainly looks like a good time to be a seller.

Well, guess what?  If you didn’t start prepping your home in February then you are way behind the power curve.

In my experience in the Northern Virginia area early spring is the best time to get your home the market.  I try to get my properties up in March.  By that time buyers are coming out of their winter hibernation and they’re hungry to see some homes, but a lot of the homes haven’t bloomed yet.  Most sellers are shooting to get their home up in April or May.  They believe that’s the sweet spot.

But, when April or May finally does roll around every seller who is thinking of selling has their home’s on the market.  They often look great and competition is tough.

Don’t think you’re exempt from completion because it’s a seller’s market.  It’s not that much of a seller’s market.  You need to put some effort into your home if you want it to move fast at top dollar.  Maximizing early interest is key to getting that top dollar offer.  If you’re not worried about making top dollar then it doesn’t really matter when you list your home.  A home will sell any time of year for some price.

No, you want to maximize your return.

Whenever I look back at comparable sales data, which is all the time, it always seems like the homes that sold for the highest price sold in February or March.  Conversely, if one of my homes or my client’s home is not under contract by June I start to get very nervous.

The Northern Virginia Real estate market really dies in mid to late summer.  When the dog days of summer roll around people are busy taking vacations, not looking at homes, and sun baked lawns make it hard to maintain that all important curb appeal.

If you’re hoping to take advantage of this spring market but haven’t yet started, you better get hoping.

Here’s a brief list of what you need to do and you only have about 2 weeks to do it:

1-Interview and Select a realtor

2-Repair and Refresh your home

a-Repair all of the little deferred maintenance issues: Leaky faucets, rotten wood trim, etc.  Make sure there is nothing the buyer needs to before moving in.

b- Fresh Paint where possible.  You may not need to pain the entire home. It just needs to look clean and fresh.  You might just be able to wipe down some walls. If you’re not good at painting then don’t waste your time.  A bad paint job is worse than no paint.  Hire a pro!

c- Declutter, Get rid of all that extra junk you’ve accumulated.  Just the right amount of furniture and fillings make a room look spacious.  An overloaded space looks cramped and small.

d- Big renovations almost never pay off.  This is good news for you since you don’t have time for them anyway.  Just make sure nothing is broken in the home.  Everything should be serviceable.

e- Curb Appeal Sells: It’s harder to make that early spring yard look good, but make sure you do a good yard cleaning and apply fresh mulch.  If you decide to wait and try next year then make sure you put down winterizer fertilizer in the spring, over-seed in the fall and apply an early spring fertilizer as soon as the product recommends.

f-Smell is so important: Air your home out as much as possible. Open those windows when the weather permits.  Your home has been closed up all winter.  You may not even realize it stinks.  Replace nasty carpets and install some light fragrance air fresheners… but don’t overdo it.

3-Get professional Photos: This usually takes a couple days so you’ll need to coordinate the photographer with your renovations and staging.  Everything must be perfect for picture day.  Your realtor should take point on this but you’ll need to let them know when you expect to be ready and make sure you meet that schedule.  Rescheduling takes a lot of time.

4- Give your realtor time to put the marketing together.  Once the photos come back your realtor needs time to get nice flyers made up, build the MLS Listing and possibly send out announcements… among other things.

To get top dollar you have to build interest.  You build interest by smacking the market with a great product and packaged in an even better presentation and then get that out to as many people as possible.

If you want to sell this spring then you better get started.  Cancel your plans for this weekend.  You’re going to be doing some painting.

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