6 Essential Tips for Selling Your Home During the Off Season
PCS orders any time of year are stressful, but some military homeowners find them even more challenging during the off season, especially if they are unexpected and you have to move ASAP.
Add a heavy dose of post-pandemic real estate trends that aren’t typical or traditional, and it's easy to see how you might need home selling support. You won’t have to go on the journey alone. We have six tips for home selling success below.
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1) Find a real estate agent that makes you feel like their top priority.
During challenging real estate cycles, you might decide to use the services of a real estate agent who has substantial experience advocating for military sellers. The best way to find a go-getter is to ask your network for references. It’s even better if your agent has the Military Relocation Professional training to top off their expertise.
There’s no shortage of real estate agents these days, especially if you check the veteran and military spouse agent pool. So, don’t settle for a ho-hum connection. If you interview several, you’re sure to find the one with an irresistible spark.
You’ll look to your agent for guidance on important home selling topics like correct pricing, repairs, and updates you may or may not need, whether or not you should stage your home, and how to create a top-notch marketing profile on and offline.
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2) Prep the house only where needed.
Of course, top-to-bottom scrubbing and cleaning every inch of the house, inside and out, is necessary. You might even need to hire a speedy professional cleaning crew to come if your PCS schedule is tight. You may also want to consider temporary storage to pack items away that clutter or personalize your home too much, especially if the lack of space or foot traffic flow is a problem.
These are basic tips for selling any home, but during an off-season move, you’ll have to decide which updates and upgrades are worth your investment. There’s specific math that affects your ROI, and it’s directly related to comparable homes in your area. You don't want to improve your home too much and miss out on a hefty profit on closing day.
Certain items can’t be ignored, like:
- Health and safety repairs, such as mold and broken stairs and handrails
- Extremely personalized paint and decorative choices like faux finishes
- Any type of smell: pet, smoke, mildew
- Overgrown and unattended landscaping and yard care
You should also consider these buyers’ wishlist projects:
- Kitchen and bathroom updates
- A complete paint refresh throughout the house
- New flooring
- Energy-efficient and environment-friendly upgrades
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3) Curb appeal seals the deal.
There’s no doubt curb appeal can make or break your home sale. Before potential buyers even set foot on your porch, they’ve already judged your home’s exterior while dissecting the online advertisement. Once they’ve dismissed your home because of the lack of exterior appeal, the chances for an in-person visit decline. Or, the buyer and agent will use your home’s blah curb appeal as a bargaining chip in the official offer.
Luckily, you have two things working in your favor: the colder season and how easy and affordable it is to maximize the curb appeal. Home shoppers in December won’t scrutinize the lawn like they would in June.
Take advantage of the season’s low maintenance requirements and focus on projects that boost appeal, like:
- Power washing
- Leaf removal
- Landscape trimming
- Sweeping and cleaning the porches
- Updating decorative touches like outdoor lighting, house numbers, mailbox, and welcome mat
If your front door needs a facelift, you want want to invest in a new front door (or update the current color). It's one of the best ways to draw buyers in.
Have some time and need more tips? Read Easy Ways to Add Curb Appeal Before Your Home Sale.
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4) Highlight the home's interior.
The first step is deciding whether the house needs professional staging. If you're working with an agent, ask for their advice about the local real estate market, which can dictate whether or not you need a professional stager’s help. If you're planning a For Sale By Owner, peruse local listings and virtual tours to compare. (Search for your location right here on MilitaryByOwner!)
Don’t worry; there are affordable ways to get the look you need without a full-priced stage. A few tweaks here and there could do the trick.
For more information, read Showcase Your Home Like an Agent
Whether or not you hire stagers, you’ll always want to highlight the features buyers consistently look for, like energy efficiency and smart home options. Point out the cost savings in efficient windows, a new HVAC system, programmable thermostats, and specialized home features such as remote control window coverings.
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5) Create an online marketing package that buyers can't ignore.
Timing is everything, they say, and it's true in real estate. You have just minutes or even seconds to entice a buyer into viewing your online photos and videos, so don’t take the task of uploading a perfect ad lightly.
If you're interviewing potential real estate agents, discuss how they will strategize the overall marketing and open house plans. Some provide the entire service (including online and in print marketing materials), and you simply approve the text, videos, and pictures, while others will defer to your DIY style. In some cases, there’s a combination of both.
Like home staging, your desired price point and local market dictate whether or not you need a professional photographer and videographer to capture your property’s best features.
If you decide to take the photos and videos, read this tutorial from a professional photographer and real estate agent: Pro Real Estate Photo Tips for Selling or Renting Your Home.
Writing the Advertisement
You should expect to write a few drafts of the property description and your home’s information. You need a mix of art and science to maximize the property’s appeal within a set limit of characters and numbers.
Don’t forget to include basic details like bedrooms and bathrooms, locations near desirable sites, like schools, and updated features such as a new roof. If you have an assumable VA Loan, remember to list it predominantly.
6) Consider offering incentives.
If you’ve checked all of the preemptive home selling strategy boxes, but you’re just not getting the leads you hope for, it might be time to consider offering incentives. You could expand your buyer audience if you offer to cover closing costs or throw in furniture or fancy appliances. If you're working with an agent, they may have ideas for other creative incentive opportunities. Depending on your market’s activity, you might need to offer incentives right from the start.
Selling your home during the off season requires careful planning and a proactive approach. With the right strategy and patience, you can achieve a smooth and successful sale during the fall and winter months.
Get even more home selling help with our free guide below.