October 09, 2013 // Franchising.com // CHICAGO – If selling their current home is on the agenda for autumn, homeowners have every reason to be upbeat about the prospects. The six months from April through September of this year have seen the pace of recovery in the metropolitan Chicago real estate market accelerate considerably. There were 29 percent more home sales and the median sales price was 13 percent higher than during the same period in 2012.
Owners eager to attract serious buyers at this time of year, when temperatures drop, daylight shortens and gardens fade, are well advised to take steps that will increase their odds of garnering not just a single offer, but several.
A home must be priced right to attract buyers, but it is also vital to maintain its curb appeal. Otherwise, buyers may simply drive away without setting foot in the residence, according to Johanna Koslofski, broker/owner of RE/MAX Valley, Realtors®, in Roscoe, Ill.
"Landscape is important at anytime of year when it comes to curb appeal," Koslofski said. "You don't want a landscape that gives the impression the home isn’t nicely maintained."
That means raking up leaves and cutting back dead plants as much as possible – but don’t damage the perennials. With few if any flowers in the yard to grab the eyes of visitors, be sure the front entrance area looks especially attractive as it is the first thing buyers encounter.
David Cobb, an agent with RE/MAX All Properties in New Lenox, Ill., points to staging a home as a key step for sellers. When a home is staged, its owners remove clutter and rearrange artwork and furniture to best showcase a home. Staging can make rooms look larger and homes feel airier. Homes that are free of clutter and unnecessary furniture make a positive impact on buyers. Such homes, if priced appropriately, also tend to attract more offers.
"The younger buyers who are out there today are drawn to homes that are staged well," Cobb said.
Condition is important, too. Owners should repair broken windows, replace torn carpeting and repaint interior walls that are chipped, faded or dirty. Exterior painting can also add appeal to a property, but it needs to be done when the temperature is at least 50 degrees, advise the experts, and watch out for inclement weather. Rain can ruin a fresh coat of paint.
"Repainting your home can make an incredible difference," Cobb said. "Buyers deciding between your home and another might choose the one with a new coat of paint because it looks cleaner and fresher. Minor work, minor improvements and staging a property can tip the balance in your direction. These are simple solutions, but they can make your home much more appealing to the buyers who are walking in your door."
Another recommendation from RE/MAX agents is that owners de-personalize their homes as much as possible when attempting to sell. This means removing family photos, awards and other memorabilia and going easy on Halloween decorations.
"Don’t turn your home into a haunted house if you’re trying to sell it," advises Koslofski. Too many decorations turn off some buyers and make it difficult for any buyer to fully appreciate the features of the home itself.
A final tip is especially important at this time of year, when natural light is less abundant than in spring and summer. Keep the home as bright as possible, letting daylight through clean windows and making sure the interior is well lit and cheery for evening showings.
"There are real advantages to selling a home during the fall and winter seasons because buyers, though they are fewer in number, tend to be quite serious about finding a home," said Cobb. "However, a serious buyer is likely to respond best to a well prepared property, so sellers do themselves a real service by maximizing the sales appeal of their home."
RE/MAX has been the leader in the northern Illinois real estate market since 1989. The RE/MAX Northern Illinois network, with headquarters in Elgin, Ill., consists of 2,000 sales associates and 100 individually owned and operated RE/MAX offices that provide a full range of residential and commercial brokerage services. Its www.illinoisproperty.com and www.remax.com websites are leaders in consumer visits among real estate franchise brands. The www.global.remax.com website allows consumers to search properties around the globe; www.theremaxcollection.com is a specialized portal of luxury properties across the U.S., and www.remaxcommercial.com displays commercial properties available nationwide and abroad. The northern Illinois network is part of RE/MAX LLC, a global real estate organization with 91,000 sales associates in 90+ nations. The RE/MAX organization has been recognized for numerous industry honors for excellence, and its Associates continue to lead the industry in professional designations, experience and production. Nobody in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX. RE/MAX is the official real estate partner of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and the national sponsor of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.