Summer Home Sales by Steven McFarlane
With landscaping in full bloom, sunshine sparkling off a water feature or a pool, and the lawn a deep, inviting green, it’s easy to see why summer is a splendid time to sell. The warm weather and long afternoons cast the entire home in an attractive, golden light and showcase sunrooms, porches and decks—areas that shoppers would quickly pass over during the colder months. As well, families have extra leisure time to explore potential homes and vacation properties. Summer has all the elements of a perfect time to list with a few cautions. Consider this checklist:
- Lawn and garden: A lush lawn and vibrantly-coloured flowers are key elements in curb appeal. If you don’t have a green thumb, pick up a fresh supply of annuals for your flower beds at your local nursery. Attractive potted plants can emphasize walkways and the front entrance. Avoid a collection of small pots; larger pots tend to look better and the soil will stay moist longer. To quickly bring some green into your lawn and plants, use bone meal. Refer to the package directions for quantity information then use only half that amount. Dissolve the granules in water overnight then mix it with enough water to cover the required area. This will quickly deliver nitrogen and phosphorus to your plants. Realistic artificial lawns are becoming a popular option for anyone wishing to save time and resources on grass cutting, watering, fertilizing and aerating.
- Outdoor living areas: Few things can compare to a warm afternoon on the deck enjoying a barbeque and a dip in the pool. For anyone moving up from a condominium, your backyard oasis can be especially appealing! In some cases, a beautiful backyard is the deciding factor in a sale. Be sure that the deck is clean and painted or stained, if required. Cracks in concrete should be filled and sealed. Wipe down the barbeque splatter area. If your patio furniture is looking worn and weathered, consider replacing it or reupholster in a modern fabric. Be sure that gardening equipment and children’s toys are stored neatly.
- Indoor/outdoor living space: On a hot day, a veranda or porch offers a breezy, shaded space while an enclosed sunroom is bright, warm and mosquito-free. These areas deserve care and attention when preparing a home for sale. Too often, clutter begins to build up and boxes of belongings make it difficult to enjoy the spaces as originally intended. Give these indoor/outdoor rooms a clean sweep, accessorize, wash the windows and add a fresh coat of paint.
- ‘Summerize’ your indoor space: This relaxed time of year creates very positive feelings for most people so why not extend those sentiments to the indoors? Fresh flowers and bowls of fruit are simple ways to add colour and vitality. If your décor is generally dark, consider how you might brighten it up. For example, a cheery bedspread, pillows, attractive slipcovers for a couch or chairs, and a new area rug all add summery charm on a budget. Open the blinds or curtains during showings to make the rooms seem airy and spacious. Be sure that out-of-season decorations are tucked away.
- Allergens: Chances are that some potential buyers who tour your home will be sensitive to dust, pet dander, pollen and/or chemicals. Simply walking across a carpet can send up microscopic particles that trigger a reaction. Wipe down surfaces with a duster that traps particles. Use a Hepa filter vacuum cleaner to capture allergens. Keep pets outside as much as possible and brush them outdoors to help keep their coats clean. When it comes to reducing plant pollen, it can be challenging. An international study conducted over several years by the Children's Mercy Hospitals & Clinics in the United States determined that climate change is extending the timeframe when plant pollens fill the air, which extends the allergy season for sufferers. For indoor flower displays, choose low-pollen options such as roses, lilies, geraniums and tulips. Outdoors, pull out weeds or keep them trimmed so that they will not produce pollen. To reduce chemical sensitivities, use natural air fresheners (e.g., a squirt of fresh lemon juice added to cleaning solutions) and avoid artificially-scented sprays and candles.
- Pests: Summer is the time of year when pests are active and noticeable. Insects, snakes, lizards and small mammals are all part of our natural environment, including backyards. Generally, they are only a concern when they move into our homes. Termites are among the most destructive of these pests. Termites eat not only wood but cloth, carpets, and other cellulosic materials. They also use soft plastics, rubber and plaster to build their nests. Become familiar with the species in your region and watch for signs of activity around porches and siding. A professional extermination is the efficient way to deal with an infestation. Most other pests require an opening to gain access to your home, so ensure that any openings are sealed. Keep garbage tightly closed. If you have fruit-bearing trees or bushes, be sure to collect ripe fruit regularly since it attracts a variety of critters!