September. This is the time of year that Southwest Florida starts marking the transition between our hot and humid summers and our comparatively cool and dry winters.
Historically, it’s also been a time of year when homeowners who were thinking about selling start considering what they need to do to get their homes ready for the snowbirds’ arrival. Typically, snowbirds would arrive around Jan. 15 and stay through Easter.
On Pine Island, one typical buyer was a Midwest farmer who came here to enjoy a piece of paradise after their growing season up north ended. They were looking for a small, inexpensive place on the water where they could enjoy mild winters and all the fishing they could handle. Cherry Estates and Flamingo Bay were popular places for them to settle.
Another type of buyer would come for a visit, decide they liked Pine Island and then start looking around for a vacation home or condo to purchase before they left in the spring — that way, they would be assured of having a place to land when they came back next year.
The recession turned that on its head, of course, and buyers became somewhat scarce. Now, however, with the economy turning around and our up-north neighbors having slogged through two brutal winters, the market is once again heating up here. If you’re planning to put your home on the market, now really is a good time to do it. Home sales are up 10 percent over this same period last year, while inventory on the Island is low. With many of our snowbirds likely looking to purchase homes, it really is a seller’s market.
But there’s more to selling your house than just putting a “For Sale” sign in front of it. There are a few simple, relatively inexpensive things you can do to maximize the return on your investment.
Every smart homebuyer has a home inspection done before they purchase a new home. But you don’t have to wait for a potential buyer to have your own comprehensive home inspection done. In fact, hiring your own home inspector — the cost is usually around $300 — can help you find potential problems and give you the opportunity to make repairs before a potential buyer brings their own inspector in. You’ll be heading off any problems and won’t have to negotiate a lower sales price.
It’s also a good idea to have a termite inspection done — usually for around $75. As Floridians, we know termites are pervasive, so it’s important to take care of any small infestations before they become major problems eating away at your investment.
Make Minor Repairs
I’m not suggesting that you spend thousands of dollars upgrading your kitchen to the latest trends in design. Instead, you should make sure the basics are all in working order: the plumbing, the electrical wiring, the hot water heater and the heating and cooling system.
If it’s been a while since your house had a new coat of paint, now is the time to remedy that — both outside and in.
Take a Good Look at Your Yard
The first thing a potential buyer sees is the outside of the house. Make sure your vegetation is trimmed and neat, your yard is mowed and everything is spic and span.
If you’re unsure where to start, consider having a conversation with a licensed Realtor. We have decades of experience in helping our clients get the maximum return on their home investment. We can help you put your best foot forward, so to speak, and help you make sure that your house is ready to sell.