Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville is known for year-round natural beauty and small-city sophistication. Even USA Today featured Charlottesville as a great place to invest in a home. “Take one of the nation’s quintessential college towns, throw in a big slice of American history, add golf courses and wineries, set it all in prime horse country, and the result is Charlottesville,” said Larry Olmsted for USA Today. However, when it comes to buying and selling a home, many of us are left with a plethora of questions about the process and what we can expect. So, we took some of our questions to one of our local agents, Gayle Harvey of Gayle Harvey Real Estate, to learn more about the process. Be on the look out for future posts as we continue this realty series in months to come!
Is there a best time to sell and buy?
“It depends. Most people think about the spring market, which generally means inventory will be at its highest level and more buyers will be stirring. That gives buyers a greater selection but also gives sellers more competition. Generally, inventory is at its lowest at the end of the year which could translate to a higher sales price for sellers.
Think about the buyer profile for your property. Who would want to live in your house or neighborhood? Do those people have any timelines that they would need to meet? If so, then place your property on the market about six months before those timelines begin. If your property appeal is “lifestyle” (farm, estate or historic homes) then those buyers generally have time to wait for their dream property and are ready to move, when they find their “ideal” place.”
Are there any exterior elements that affect selling a home?
“The exterior of your home is the most important element. Quite often, if buyers don’t like the exterior and drive into the property, they won’t even get out of the car to go see all the great things you have done to the interior.
Make sure the grass is cut and the flowerbeds and shrubbery are tidy. You don’t want the buyers to think about maintenance. The front door area should be clean and inviting. The exterior of the home is that first impression of how well you have taken care of your home and how much money the buyer will need to spend to address your deferred maintenance.”
How do you stage your house for selling?
“Make sure your home is sparkling clean and you have decluttered and depersonalized it. Stand at the entryway to each room and try to imagine seeing it for the first time. What grabs your attention? Is that a negative or a positive? Sometimes it is better to ask a friend or your real estate agent to walk through with you. Quite often, it is just too hard to be critical of your own living space.
Once you have decluttered, declutter once more. Most people don’t take out enough to show how spacious the rooms can be. You are planning to move, so help your house sell faster and start moving out from day one. Don’t pack up boxes and store them in the garage or basement—rent storage space. This helps let the buyer know that you can move out in the time frame that the buyer needs, if they need to have a quick closing. So often I hear from buyers, there is no way the seller can pack up and move “all of this” in 30 days.”
Gayle specializes in the sales of farms, estates and historic homes throughout Charlottesville and the central Virginia region and can be reached at GayleHarveyRealEstate.com. Be sure to check each edition of Charlottesville Wine & County Living for our featured Dream Properties, as well as the blog for more posts from our realtor series with insight into the process of finding your dream home and exclusive looks at some of the premier properties and homes in our area.
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