NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The summer selling season beckons, and it looks like a hot one.
How hot? Existing home sales are at their highest levels since late 2013, according to the National Association of Realtors, and should accelerate even more in the summer months as families with kids start to hunt for homes.
Housing experts advise sprucing up your property — inside and outside — to get buyers waving their checkbooks in your direction come June, July or August.
Here's a look at what home-sale professionals say you should do to upgrade your home in advance of a great sales deal:
Leverage the good weather. Take advantage of Mother Nature's sunny disposition to sell your home, advises Cannon Christian, president of Renovation Realty in San Diego. "Keep your backyards and patios clean and festive," Christian says. "Add in pops of color with fresh flowers, unique decor or hanging lights. Also, take down heavy drapes and curtains to let in the natural sunlight. That prevents that drab and dreary feeling from sneaking in."
Eliminate clutter. Keep all mail and day-to-day items out of sight in a drawer, and clear 95% of items off of all countertops in bathrooms and kitchens to show off how spacious they are, says Denise Cheshire, owner of the Home Staging Institute in Portland, Ore. "Also, remove all family photos so that buyers can imagine their own family living in the home. Family photos can create a mental obstacle that keeps buyers from emotionally connecting with the home." Cheshire also advises improving your curb appeal with a front door makeover, with a fresh coat of paint for the door in a cheerful color such as red, a new doormat and some colorful potted annuals. "Most sellers still don't do these basic things, so following these tips will put your home ahead of the competition," she says.