You have a spring listing, and it’s time to introduce the home to the world. As the passing shadow of winter makes way for signs of life, any house on the market in the spring should feel as fresh as its surroundings, inviting in curious buyers with plenty of crisp whites and greens and enticing reminders of the summer that’s in store for them if they do decide to snatch up this home.
To make your spring listings hum, they should feature light and bright touches throughout to celebrate the new season.
Inman chatted with some top real estate agents located in areas where spring is here or right around the corner. They dished on how they help clients get their listings ready for peak selling season. Here are six tips from the pros.
1. Spring cleaning is serious business
According to Darlene Umina, a top agent at Lamacchia Realty in Framingham, Massachusetts, step one is a serious spring cleaning. Though this may seem obvious, Umina likes to spell it out to clients with the advice: “You clean like never before, and then you clean again.”
If it has been a harsh winter — and this one has been a doozy — Umina said the cleaning should include a pressure wash on the outside of the house, and windows washed inside and out throughout the house.
Spring smells are a part of the joy of the new season and if there is a lawn, get it mowed shortly before an open house so it smells of fresh-cut grass. Scatter around some fresh bark mulch, too, Umina advises.
Even if it’s still chilly, the agent will go through and open all the windows in the house on the morning of the open house and leave a couple open during the tours to ensure the air isn’t stuffy.
2. Boost the lighting
Lighting is key, added Umina.
Replace any energy-saving bulbs with strong traditional ones, even if it’s just temporarily.
“Having that bright warm light makes a huge difference,” she said. And make sure cleaning the light shades is on the list of to-dos to maximize brightness.
If the light fixtures in the house leave something to be desired, check out this list of the best and brightest examples of ceiling decor.
3. Create pops of color throughout
Try to create “pops of color” throughout the home, recommended Umina, who will always have a big bunch of seasonal flowers right by the area where people come to sign in for the open house, along with some nicely wrapped cookies on a tray to take away.
Meanwhile, store away any blankets draped over sofas and replace them with bright throw pillows — perhaps some with flowers or spring accents, but nothing overbearing. The Lamacchia Realty agent likes light, classy, toile cushions in turquoise for a punch of “unassuming color.”
Another excuse for color in the kitchen is a large mason jar full of homemade lemonade, with slices of lemon and ice to bring the “summer is coming” message home. Add a stack of colorful cups next to it.
“People love it in spring; it’s the first taste of summer,” said Umina.
According to Amy Klupp with The Holden Agency in Ohio, another market emerging from a long winter, white and pale gray are popular colors in her neighborhoods this spring. Buyers want to see light gray walls, lots of white trim, or white paint over native honey oak walls and light-colored furniture.
4. Consider using shiplap to your advantage
Shiplap, a type of wooden board traditionally used only in home exteriors, is now seen commonly on the inside to give a room a new look, said Klupp. These horizontal wood planks painted white or the color of your choice can be arranged in bathrooms or as an accent wall in a living room, especially if there is an open floor plan.
Klupp, who does staging for other agents as well as herself, often advises clients to paint old brick fireplaces a crisp white to lighten the room.
She uncovered the original mantelpiece in a home recently and stained it black, which looked very attractive against the contrast of the white fireplace.
5. ‘Wow’ buyers from the start
How does the house look from the front? Think about planting some white impatiens, make sure there is plenty of greenery and throw in some contrasting black bark, suggested Highland Partners’ Debbi DiMaggio based in Piedmont, California.
Inside, visually and literally lighten up the furniture — i.e., take out any heavy pieces and think about replacing them with contemporary mid-century pieces that are elegant and lightweight, à la Restoration Hardware or Westelm-style, she said.
If there is a budget for it, flooring can make a big difference. DiMaggio will always suggest replacing carpet on the stairs, and she likes luxury linoleum to freshen up laundry rooms or kitchens.
Finally, think about putting a fountain in the backyard — they are easy to find at hardware stores and can add a touch of class and fun.
6. Be accessible
And to be truly spring friendly, be accessible for the wave of traffic you’re likely to get to a well-priced and well-staged home, and have the home ready for viewing on both Saturday and Sunday for open houses, advised DiMaggio. “New buyers are always coming into the market,” she said.