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 A Royal Oak home’s living room looks clean, uncluttered and ready to present to possible buyers.

A Royal Oak home’s living room looks clean, uncluttered and ready to present to possible buyers.

Photo provided by Realtor Paula Rait, of RE/MAX

Help your home stand out during the busy spring selling season

By: Nick Mordowanec | C&G Newspapers | Published April 24, 2019

METRO DETROIT — If you’re traveling about town, odds are that you have seen numerous “for sale” signs in front yards.

That’s not by accident. Experts in home realty say there is a historical significance associated with selling homes once spring is in full gear.

Nancy Robinson, a Realtor with Century 21, said the trend of spring home sales used to be predicated around dodging children’s school schedules and being able to better take advantage of the changes in weather patterns.

While the latter still rings true, aspects like open enrollment in school districts have impacted that theory. However, more recent trends — like medical residents and interns moving for work, or recent college graduates entering the market in a more stable economy — have leaned toward a societal shift.

“These days, more college graduates stay here than in 2008, 2009, when they (originally) left (the state),” Robinson said.

Paula Rait, a Realtor with RE/MAX, said spring sales tend to coincide with higher monetary figures. It also presents an opportunity for sellers to showcase their homes.

“This time of year, it’s really busy because everyone wants to get in the house and do work on it,” Rait said. “Everyone wants to enjoy the house in the summer.”

And when you model the house for potential buyers, for showings scheduled in advance, one term continually comes to Rait’s mind: “declutter.”

That includes removing any unnecessary furniture that makes rooms feel tighter; clearing rooms of laundry; and making sure the outdoor yard areas are well-maintained, by means of lawn cutting, edging, adding mulch and planting flowers.

Sellers believe they have to fix everything, Rait said, but it’s more about neutralization.

For example, she mentioned having two past older clients who were selling their home and were hesitant to put away family photos. Rait had to tell them that the photos wouldn’t mean anything to strangers who were doing a one-and-done house tour.

“It’s best to have a Realtor look at it, because they’re looking at it through the eyes of a buyer. … You have to present the house as clean as you can,” Rait said.

Robinson said she has the same approach with every client, which revolves around finding their motivation for wanting to sell the property in the first place. Some do it because they’re skipping town, while others are tired of renting properties for decades and want something more stable.

Robinson uses the “biggest bang for your buck” mantra, encouraging clients to maximize their future investment as if it was a car requiring a full detail: redoing hardwood floors; replacing carpeting; using a calm, neutral palette that involves quartz rather than granite; painting walls with a soft color scheme consisting of grays, beiges and creamy blues; and doing a deep cleanse of every nook and cranny.

“I really need to know what’s going on with the people involved,” she said. “It’s always about the people.”

In terms of popularity, open floor plans are still quite fashionable. Robinson called it a trend that isn’t “going to go too far away” anytime soon. She has also noticed nearly every client asking for two bathrooms, minimum — an increase when compared to just 10 or 15 years ago.

Just like last year, she said, it’s a “balanced market.” Buyers are getting more creative — like turning the garage space into a home gym — while sellers want to offer extra incentives.

At the end of the day, it’s always about the price.

“If they don’t perceive the value, they don’t buy it,” Robinson said.

Rait always tells her clients to be prepared to make snap decisions, which ups the ante of pressure on both sides. She tends to be confident that a competitive selling price will land the final cost right where it should be.

She said it’s not unusual to wait a maximum of five days for the highest and best offer, because one offer is sometimes all it takes. That just puts the ball in the court of the buyer, who should already have his or her ducks in a row.

“A hot house is not going to wait for a buyer,” Rait said.