3 Easy Ways to Get Ready to Sell This Spring!

February 18, 2014
by Anne Jones

Are you contemplating listing your home this Spring?

If so, you’re probably one of many people who have noticed that the Tacoma real estate market is back. While it is definitely no longer a buyer’s market (and hasn’t been for some time) in our area the bidding wars are limited to “turn key” homes in the more popular neighborhoods. Properly preparing your home will equally more money in your pocket! Still not convinced you need to do some prep work to sell? Remember that most first impressions are happening online, and if things go well, the eager buyer will jump into their car and drive right on over to scope out your house. To ensure they don’t keep driving, focus on your curb appeal first.

1. Adding color is the easiest way to make your home stand out during these grey winter months.

Sure, the annuals mostly consist of cabbage and potted daffodils right now, but there are still lots of gorgeous shrubs and perennials that make a strong visual impact. A few that I noticed this week: the heaths & heather (currently blooming in eye popping purple), euonymous and false cypress (bright yellow and green), ornamental grasses (such as black mondo or blue fescue).  For the best selection, you may need to venture beyond Lowe’s and Home Depot to a nursery like Gardensphere in Proctor or Willow Tree in University Place. You can also add some potted flowers next to the house where they will be a little more protected.

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HINT: Also remember that milder temps and longer days will just encourage weeds, so be sure to add a layer of bark or mulch to suppress them. This will also help define and tidy up your planting beds.

2. Clean and paint the exterior, paying special attention to any chipping or flaking paint.

If your home was built prior to 1978, failing paint can be a red flag for appraisers and may interfere with a buyer’s ability to obtain financing. Pressure wash dingy sidewalks, clean the moss off your roof (but don’t use the pressure washer here!) and wash your windows, because you have no idea how dirty they are until the sun comes out.

Another way to add a pop of color is by painting your front door. Don’t get too crazy with the color (ask your Realtor if in doubt, or look at Houzz.com to see what some of the on-trend colors are right now). You can look for other ways to incorporate a little color into your exterior paint scheme by highlighting window sills or corbels with a standout accent color.

HINT: This can be a very difficult time of year to paint. Ideally you’ll need at least 4 hours above 50 degrees for exterior latex paint to dry. If that is not a possibility, there are specialty paint formulas that will still cure in lower temperatures.

3.  Replace rusted mailboxes or porch lights and update your house numbers.

You can do this for $100-$200 and the impact is huge. Don’t forget a fresh doormat, and you will let buyers know you are serious about selling this home. If you’re too busy to get out and shop you can get some great deals from Amazon.com — and they will ship right to your door!

After you’ve done all this hard work, make sure that it shows (in person AND online). What does that mean? Take a look at the lead photo being used to market your home. Does it look appealing?  Is it crisp and clear and well lit? (Yes, this is possible to achieve even on cloudy days). If not, demand that it be retaken when the weather is better. You only have once change to grab their attention before they scroll on past…be sure your home is the one that grabs them!