Selling Your Maryland Home In The Fall
Updated: Dec 29, 2019
Residents of Maryland and the D.C. Metropolitan area are relatively transient. We see a lot of transplants from all over the country and the world. If you need to sell your house, you may be worried that you’ve missed the boat on the spring market, but all is not lost! Selling a home in Maryland in the fall is not an impossible task. In fact, you will find that you encounter fewer tire kickers and face far less competition from other sellers. This is what Marylanders need to know in order to sell a home in the fall.
The Buyers Are Motivated. While it is true that there is an influx of buyers in the spring, you will find that fall buyers are often more motivated. Like I said, Maryland is quite transient and many buyers move to the area in the fall and winter months to start new jobs. The pressure of starting a new job is a real motivator for buyers to move swiftly. With the holidays fast approaching, buyers will likely want to close quickly. Much of the spring market is comprised of families who need to be settled before school starts, but there is a huge pool of buyers who don’t have this restriction. With interest rates set to rise in 2019, there are a number of savvy buyers searching for homes this season.
Curb Appeal Is Critical. If you have a lawn that turns brown in the winter, get your photos taken as soon as possible! The fall foliage can be beautiful and work to your advantage, but try not to wait until the leaves have come down entirely. Rake the leaves and put out some fall plants. It may not occur to you, but landscaping is just as important in the fall. You won’t have the advantage of warm weather and spring flowers, so make your home as inviting as possible. Note that a few festive decorations are fine, but don’t go overboard as this can be a turn off for buyers. A wreath and some fall plants should be enough. Welcoming, but neutral.
Stay On Top Of Maintenance. You’ll have little room for mishaps this time of year. Get your HVAC system serviced and stay on top of maintenance and repairs. You should have better luck with scheduling and rates than you would in the spring and it would be unfortunate to have a laundry list of repairs show up on an inspection as it will lower your negotiating power and buyers will be quick to ask for concessions. Be aware that any repairs you choose not to make must be disclosed.
Lighting Is Everything. Lighting can really color buyers’ opinions of a property. Lighting is important no matter what time of year you list your home, but it becomes more so as the days get shorter. Consider replacing fixtures on the porch and adding lights along outdoor walkways. Go for higher wattage bulbs and be sure to turn all of the lights on for photos and before showings. Lighting is a critical element that makes a home appear welcoming year round.
Décor. Again, don’t go overboard with seasonal décor. It may be counter intuitive, but try to stay as neutral as possible. Feel free to add a few pops of color in the décor, but a fresh coat of a light, neutral paint will help make your home brighter and more appealing. It may be tempting to decorate for Halloween and it isn’t out of the question, but keep it to a minimum. Buyers will be less than impressed if they have to duck around fake cobwebs.
Go The Extra Mile. While it is true that you have less competition in the fall, it is worth paying close attention to the details. Clean the windows thoroughly or, better yet, replace them. Buyers appreciate energy efficient upgrades when the heat comes on. Fireplaces should be kept tidy even if they are rarely used and a nice seasonal display on the mantel can really add to the aesthetic of the home.
It isn’t uncommon for agents to put out treats or turn on music for open houses, but if you know you have a showing, it may be worth lighting a few candles or even throwing some cinnamon rolls in the oven. Even details such as laying out cookbooks or placing a bowl of apples on the counter can really make a difference.
Fall and winter clothing can be bulky, but try to keep closets at 50% of their capacity and store summer clothes and anything else you don’t need. You don’t want it to appear that your closets are bursting at the seams. In your linen closet, keep a separate set of linens that you will use for showings and open houses. Crisp white linens are always your best bet to make bedrooms and bathrooms look their best and keeping them set aside will make your life easier. In the fall, you can add some heavier throws to the foot of your bed and on sofas to add a degree of (literal and figurative) warmth to the room.
Sometimes you can’t get around listing your home in the cooler months. Selling a home can be incredibly stressful regardless of the time of year, but as the leaves come down and the holidays loom overhead, sellers become quite nervous. Luckily, Maryland enjoys a relatively long fall season so if you know you need to put your home on the market and you are worried about how your home will show, know that it is not too late to find a Realtor, take some beautiful photos, and sell your home.