How to prepare your home for the spring market in the middle of winter

If you’re thinking of selling your home this spring, it’s time to bring it out of hibernation.

You may have heard that certain “as is” properties have started bidding wars in certain markets, and that’s true. But if there are small repairs and upgrades you’ve been putting off, you could be leaving money on the table with cheap deals. So before you start taking photos of your home for listing sites, add these DIY projects to your to-do list.

Image source: Getty Images.

Makeover the entrance

Nothing says “welcome home” more than a clean and inviting front entrance, especially if yours has been cluttered with boots and shovels for the past few months. Paint your front door black or charcoal gray — Zillow found that a house could sell for about $6,000 more if you do.

You can also replace your current door with a more secure steel door. According to RemodelingAccording to 2021 Cost/Value Report, a new exterior steel door costs an average of $2,082, with a 65% return on investment.

Exterior pressure washing

Winter weather can wreak havoc on your home’s exterior, but a thorough pressure washing can breathe new life into it. It is also good for cleaning sidewalks and driveways that have spent most of the winter under a layer of snow, ice and salt. Many landscaping companies offer pressure washing as part of their services, or you can rent a pressure washer from your local home improvement store for the day. The rental price ranges from $40 to $100, depending consumer reports.

Clean windows

Dirty windows aren’t just an eyesore to potential buyers, they also block sunlight. Wipe up grime, open blinds or curtains, and let the sun shine in to brighten your space, especially if you have an open house scheduled during the day.

Clean up the yard

Curb appeal is everything to buyers, both in person and in the exterior photos you include in your online real estate listing. But don’t think that a garden full of colorful flowers is the only way to win buyers’ hearts. A mowed lawn and swept sidewalks show that you care about keeping up appearances.

This is also your friendly reminder to put away your trash buckets. Nothing kills curb appeal quite like a pile of trash front and center. At the very least, remove them before taking any exterior photos for the listing. On the day of your open house, pull them to an inconspicuous part of the yard. If yours looks less worn, buy new ones.

Changing/replacing bulbs

Buy bulbs in bulk, as you will be replacing not only dead bulbs, but also those that are fading. Ideally, you’ll want the bulbs to match each other’s cold or warm temperature. You can tell the difference between the two – warm is a softer yellow glow, while cool is a brighter white – and you can definitely see the difference if you’ve mixed them in a fixture.

Make small interior repairs

Walk around your house room by room and write down any small fixes you can make, like tightening a loose doorknob, fixing a jammed kitchen drawer, or caulking a drafty window. It’s understandable that you might not want to invest a lot of money in remodeling projects for a home you’ll soon be leaving. But tackling a list of small repairs will show buyers how well you’ve maintained your home — and that there’s potentially less for a new homeowner to do when they move in.

Spring is widely considered the start of the real estate sales season. Housing inventory is at historic lows, but more homes could hit the market in the coming months. If you want your home to attract more buyers and perhaps start your own bidding war, push your to-do list forward.

This article represents the opinion of the author, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a high-end advice service Motley Fool. We are heterogeneous! Challenging an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and wealthier.

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