• Sarah Lipkowitz

Selling A House In The Fall

Updated: Dec 29, 2019

I’ve mentioned more than once how fall is a fantastic time of year for buyers. Old inventory, price reductions, and less competition from other buyers can make this time of year a much less stressful and much less costly time to buy a home.

What does this mean for sellers?

In many markets, sellers probably want to aim for the spring since that’s when the buyer pool is the largest, but what if you can’t wait until then? Don’t worry! Many properties go on the market in the summer, fall, and winter months and it is entirely possible to sell your home or farm for top dollar and in a short amount of time throughout the year. In fact, the time of year may be irrelevant depending on the market and the inventory. Some neighborhoods see buyers getting into bidding wars year-round. Here’s what you need to know about selling a home in the fall.

Fall Buyers Are Serious. It’s true that the buyer pool is smaller in the fall. However, fall buyers are often quite serious. You likely won’t see the same amount of traffic at open houses and showings may be less frequent, but the buyers who come through won’t be tire kickers. Even though the market may be less competitive for buyers, your property will likely have fewer comparable properties to contend with.

Photography Is Critical. Sellers are commonly advised to take their photos in the spring or summer months even if they plan to sell in the fall or winter, but it may not be possible to plan that far in advance. Besides, it’s really unnecessary. The spring market begins in March in Maryland when there are no leaves on the trees yet. Unless the pictures were taken the year before—in which case, they are outdated—none of the listings feature trees in bloom and they still sell quickly. Quality is really what’s important. High resolution photos with good lighting that accurately portray the condition of the property is what counts.

Staging Is Worth It. Buyers like a staged home. Staging a home may increase amount a home sells for and decrease the number of days on market. The most important rooms to stage are the living room, master bedroom, kitchen, and the dining room. Does this mean you need to pay hundreds of dollars per room for staging? Not necessarily. I’ve written about how sellers can stage their own home and what is most important is that the home is clean, decluttered, and presentable with adequate lighting. Take advantage of the fall season and make your home cozy. Highlight the fireplace, put up some seasonal decorations, and light a few candles. A word of caution: don’t go overboard on holiday decorations!

Repairs Are Mandatory. Buyers really like to renegotiate a contract after the home inspection. This can cost a seller thousands. Don’t get caught unawares! Make sure your home is up-to-date on all maintenance and that any repairs on your To-Do list get done before you list. Many sellers expect that buyers might present low-ball offers. Fewer sellers are prepared to have their arm twisted when it comes to repairs.

Curb Appeal Is Just As Important As Ever. Just like the interior of your home, you need to prepare the exterior. Foliage in the spring and summer months might cover any cosmetic pitfalls, but they will be laid bare cooler months. Create curb appeal by doing some touchups, raking your yard, and making use of seasonal flowers and décor.

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