The real estate market saw some great news when the April statistics were released. Nationwide, home inventory, home list prices and total inventory increased month over month. The length of time homes remained on the market decreased almost 11 percent since last April at 81 days.
The Washington D.C. region, which encompasses DC, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, fared even better than the national averages. Our area saw the median list price increase almost 4% since last month and a 5% increase since April 2012. Total listings were up 12.5% month to month and the length of time on the market was just 41 days.
If you’re considering selling your home, the market hasn’t been this positive in recent memory. But before putting your home on the market, you’ll want to take the time to get it in shape for memorable showings.
Exterior: Consider what your home looks like as prospective buyers approach it from the curb. Make sure your landscaping is neat and tidy and bushes and low-hanging tree branches are trimmed. Inspect your roof and gutters, replace any missing or broken shingles, and clean your gutters.
Entryway: Your front door area should be welcoming. Colorful annual flowers in containers will brighten the area. If you have a screen storm door, make sure it’s in working order with no holes or tears. Your main entry door should be clean and without damage; consider a new coat of paint. Inspect the door hardware and polish it up if necessary.
Interior walls: If you have any damaged drywall or nail holes, patch them and make sure they’re sanded flush with the rest of the wall. Scrub all baseboards and any other decorative molding so they are clean. A can of paint can do wonders – consider painting any rooms that have an outdated color scheme or that still show signs of wear after you clean them. A coat of paint on baseboards and moldings is well worth the effort.
Floors: Inspect and repair any damage to tile or vinyl floors in bathrooms. Have your carpets steam cleaned and buff hardwood floors.
Windows: Sparkly-clean windows provide prospective buyers a clear view to the yard, as well as show that your home has been well maintained. As with baseboards, make sure your window molding is clean and add a coat of paint. Any window that is cracked or damaged should be repaired or replaced. If your house has the original aluminum or old wood windows, consider vinyl replacement windows. If you don’t have it in the budget to replace all your windows, consider those along the front of the house or in the most-used rooms.
Bathrooms and Kitchen: If any of your bathroom or kitchen hardware is worn or out of date, replace them. It’s a relatively inexpensive project that will update the look of the room. If not replacing faucets, make sure they’re in working order and not leaking or dripping. Consider refacing outdated kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities.
Declutter: This should be done in every room in your home. Donate or box up excess decorative items. Tackle those piles of paperwork and file or shred as necessary. Don’t forget about decluttering the garage, attic, and basement areas. Your closets will be opened by potential buyers; make sure they’re tidy and not jam-packed with clothing and other items.
If your budget allows, Remodeling magazine’s Cost. vs. Value Report analyzes market data and lists home projects that provide the biggest return on investment. In the latest report, replacement projects continue to perform better in resale value compared to other types of remodeling projects. These include replacement siding, windows, doors, and roofing.
The report ranks these replacement or remodeling projects as top choices for improving resale value: replacement siding, garage door replacement, vinyl window replacement, entry door replacement, attic bedroom remodel, and minor kitchen remodel. Projects that recoup the least amount for homeowners at resale include master suite addition, bathroom addition, garage addition, deck addition, and full bathroom remodel.