9 Expert Summer Real Estate Tips to Sell Your Home

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If you’re selling your home during June, July, or August, you’re in the right place to pick up a few expert summer real estate tips to help you speed up the sale and potentially increase your proceeds.

“Summer is a busy time for home shoppers, and you can do little things that help your home to stand out,” says Dusty Rhoton, a top real estate agent in Northern Arizona with more than 22 years of experience. “It’s the perfect season to refresh, brighten, and showcase your home.”

We’ll also share proven home-selling strategies that you can apply year-round.

Step One: Talk to an Expert Listing Agent

It takes just two minutes to match you with the top-performing listing agents in your market. Our data shows that the top 5% of agents in the U.S. sell homes quicker and for as much as 10% more than the average agent.

1. Make the exterior of your home shine

You’ve heard it before: whether it’s a job interview, a first date, or listing a home for sale, first impressions count. More importantly, first impressions linger. Or, as top agents say, first impressions can sell or repel.

“While the agent is opening the lock on the front door, what are your buyers doing?” Rhoton asks. “They’re standing there inspecting everything that’s around them. It’s their first impression of the home, so make it a good one.”

Here’s how to make the exterior of your home stand out this summer:

  • Add summer flowers: Rhoton suggests inexpensive planters to add a variety of colorful flowers. This is a simple way to add summertime visual appeal.
  • Mow, trim, and weed: A neat, weed-free lawn and well-groomed bushes enhance overall curb appeal and convey a positive message that the home is well maintained.
  • Water your yard and plants: Keep your grass and plants green and vibrant for showings and open houses.
  • Seal larger driveway cracks: Ensure your driveway looks well-maintained and inviting.
  • Touch up or repaint as needed: Fresh paint can make your home look clean and updated. New paint can add an estimated $7,571 in resale value for a 152% ROI.
  • Paint or clean your front door: Your front door is a focal point; make it look its best. If it’s in really bad shape, consider replacing it.
  • Fix peeling or damaged siding: Address any visible damage on your home’s siding to maintain a polished exterior.
  • Address any roof damage: Ensure your roof is in good condition to avoid deterring buyers.
  • Look at your house numbers: Update your address numbers on the house and on the street so they look sharp and are easily seen.
  • Enhance your entryway: To create a welcoming entrance, add a new doormat, potted plants, or outdoor lighting. “Consider hanging a stylish summer wreath,” Rhoton suggests.

Regarding your doormat, Rhoton cautions that it should look new and inviting but not obnoxious. “One time, I was selling a house that had a mat that said, ‘Don’t come back without a warrant.’ Fortunately, I was still able to sell the house, but I wouldn’t recommend having a mat that’s too personal.”

Pro tip about bats and birds: “We had a couple of houses where bats would sit around the front entry door and patio, and guano would cover the walkways or entryways,” Rhoton recalls. “We cleaned them up and then sprayed peppermint essential oil in those areas where they were congregating. It worked like a charm; the bats never came back.” This tip can also work to keep birds away from desired areas.

2. Highlight outdoor living spaces

Summer homebuyers love outdoor living spaces, so it’s important to make these areas as appealing as possible.

“Create a comfortable seating area in your outdoor space to make it an inviting spot to relax and socialize,” Rhoton says. “You need to help the buyers picture themselves enjoying a summer evening on the patio or an outdoor breakfast on the deck.”

Here are several ways to showcase your outdoor spaces effectively:

  • Clean and organize any outdoor cooking areas: Ensure grills and cooking stations are spotless and arranged neatly.
  • Declutter the back yard, deck, and patio: Remove unnecessary items like extra hoses and wheelbarrows to keep the space tidy.
  • Fix up your fence: If your home has a broken, ineffective, or ugly fence, a repair or upgrade will be worth the investment. Many buyers value a usable fenced yard.
  • Replace or remove worn or rusting patio furniture: Update your outdoor furniture to create a welcoming atmosphere.
  • Add comfortable seating options: Arrange cozy seating areas to highlight the functionality of your outdoor spaces.
  • Incorporate outdoor lighting: Use string lights, lanterns, or solar lights to create a warm and inviting ambiance in the evening.
  • Plant colorful flowers or greenery: Enhance the appeal of your outdoor spaces with vibrant plants and flowers.
  • Create defined areas for relaxation and entertainment: Use outdoor rugs, cushions, or partitions to distinguish different zones, like dining, lounging, and play areas.
  • Set up a fire pit or portable heater: Highlight how your outdoor space can be enjoyed by firelight or on cooler summer nights.
  • Stage outdoor dining areas: Set up tables with attractive place settings to help buyers envision outdoor meals.
  • Add a water feature: A small fountain or birdbath can add a soothing touch to your outdoor environment.

“You might be surprised by how much you can enhance your outdoor living areas with a small, affordable water fountain or cute birdbath,” Rhoton says. “These can add a soothing element to your outdoor area and attract wildlife.”

3. Give buyers a pleasant first step inside

Just as with outside curb appeal, creating a positive first impression as buyers step inside your home is an important summer real estate strategy.

“Summer is synonymous with light, open space, fresh air, and getting outdoors,” Rhoton says. “Let the outdoors in. Open all the blinds to let the sunlight help fill and brighten a room.”

Here are ways to help make a potential buyer’s initial experience inviting and comfortable:

  • Clean the house from top to bottom: A spotless home shows that it’s well cared for.
  • Keep the house cool for showings: Maintain a cool indoor environment to make your home more appealing. Be certain your AC is working well.
  • Turn on ceiling fans: Keep air circulating to enhance comfort. If needed, use additional fans to ensure a cool atmosphere in all rooms.
  • Give your home good light: Open blinds and curtains just before showings to let in natural light.
  • Depersonalize and declutter every room: Help buyers envision themselves living in your home by removing personal items and excess clutter.
  • Kill the bugs: If you have a bug problem inside or outside the house, take action right away. Buyers don’t want bugs.
  • Do something with your pets: Arrange for pets to be out of the house during showings to avoid distractions and potential allergies.
  • Stage your home to fit the season: Use light, airy decor to create a summery vibe in your home staging.

“I always stage my houses, every time,” Rhoton says. “You can start by removing your family photos. You want the buyers to picture their family living there, not yours.”

Staging is more than just a way to help your house sell faster. According to a recent  HomeLight survey of more than 1,000 top real estate agents, a well-staged home can sell for up to 13% more. For example, a $400,000 house that’s professionally staged could sell for as much as $52,000 more.

“I like to create some kind of focal point for each room,” Rhoton explains. “That might be a fireplace, seating area, or a beautifully made-up bed. You can arrange items in the room to highlight these features.”

Rhoton points out that these interior tips will also help prepare your home for more compelling listing photos. Your home should have great curb appeal in person and online.

Pro tip about tours:  “I tell my sellers to remove those countertop knife-holder sets, secure valuables, and lock away prescription medications and any weapons they might have in the home,” Rhoton recommends. “This helps ensure that your home will remain safe and secure during showings while creating a more welcoming environment for potential buyers.”

4. Deodorize your home

A fresh-smelling home is another way to make a good first impression on buyers. Here’s how to ensure your home smells clean and inviting:

  • Remove dirty laundry: Keep laundry baskets empty and out of sight.
  • Wash sheets and comforters: Fresh linens contribute to a clean scent.
  • Throw away expired food: Check the fridge and pantry for anything past its prime.
  • Start a “no shoes in the house” policy: This helps keep floors clean and odor-free.
  • Do the dishes: Keep the sink and dishwasher empty and clean.
  • Empty and clean the dishwasher: Ensure it’s spotless and odor-free.
  • Eliminate cigarette smells (this may require new paint and curtains): Thoroughly clean or replace items that hold smoke odors, such as curtains or rugs.
  • Ventilate musty rooms to increase fresh airflow: Open windows and use fans to air out rooms.
  • Hang new, unused towels: Fresh towels add to the clean feel of bathrooms.
  • Clean mold and mildew from the shower: Ensure bathrooms are mold-free.
  • Clean out drains: Unclog and freshen up any smelly drains.
  • Attack pet odors head-on: Use pet-specific cleaning products to remove any lingering smells.

Pro tip about smells: After you deodorize, Rhoton says to keep smells subtle. “Don’t use plug-in wall fresheners or burn candles because buyers will think you’re trying to mask an odor. It can also be harmful to those with asthma.” A bowl of lemons or a few fresh flowers can add a subtle, clean fragrance without setting off buyer alarms.

5. Make necessary repairs before you list

Before listing your home, it’s important to address any repairs that could turn off potential buyers. A top agent can help you focus on the right repairs — and avoid paying for things that you don’t need to fix.

Here’s a list of common repairs to consider:

  • Light switches: Ensure all switches are functional and replace any that are broken or outdated.
  • Door knobs: Fix or replace loose or damaged door knobs for a polished look.
  • Drawer handles: Tighten or replace worn drawer handles to give cabinets a fresh appearance.
  • Windows and screens: Repair or replace any broken windows and fix torn or loose screens.
  • Leaks around your bath and kitchen fixtures: Check for and repair any leaks to prevent water damage and mold.
  • Paint touch-ups: As noted earlier, repaint areas with chipped or faded paint to give your home a well-maintained look.
  • Flooring issues: Repair or replace cracked tiles, loose floorboards, or stained carpeting.
  • Plumbing problems: Fix any slow drains or low water pressure issues.
  • Electrical outlets: Ensure all outlets are working and replace any that are damaged or outdated.
  • Roof and gutters: Repair any damage to the roof and clean out gutters to prevent water issues.

To learn more, see our 15-point summer home maintenance checklist.

6. Make targeted upgrades when necessary

There may be times when an experienced agent might suggest you make upgrades to maximize your profits. Consider these upgrades to increase your home’s overall sale price:

  • Appliance upgrades: Replacing old, inefficient appliances with modern ones can attract buyers.
  • Bathroom renovations: Updating fixtures or even a complete renovation can add significant value.
  • Kitchen remodel: A modern kitchen is a major selling point, so consider upgrading countertops, cabinets, or appliances.
  • Energy-efficient improvements: Installing energy-efficient windows, insulation, or HVAC systems can be a strong selling point.
  • Flooring upgrades: Replacing old carpet or linoleum with hardwood or modern tile can greatly enhance the home’s appeal.
  • Curb appeal enhancements: Larger projects like replacing the front door or adding landscaping can make a big impact.
  • Smart home features: Adding smart thermostats, security systems, or lighting can attract tech-savvy buyers.

How Much Is Your Home Worth Now?

Home values have rapidly increased in recent years. How much is your current home worth now? Get a ballpark estimate from HomeLight’s free Home Value Estimator.

7. Price your home right

No matter what season you list your home, setting the right price is one of the most critical factors in a successful home sale. Rhoton says overpricing can lead to your home sitting on the market for too long, and underpricing can leave money on the table.

A top agent will research comparable homes in your area, consider current market trends, and provide a comparative market analysis (CMA) to help you find the Goldilocks price that will achieve your speed and price selling objectives.

Rhoton says the right price can generate more interest and potentially lead to multiple offers. How well you prepare your home for a summer listing can also play a role in creating active buyer competition.

8. Consider a pre-listing home inspection

A pre-listing home inspection can be a valuable tool in the selling process. By identifying and addressing potential issues before your home hits the market, you can avoid surprises during the buyer’s inspection.

In a market with hesitant buyers, a clean inspection report can also provide home shoppers with peace of mind and streamline the closing process.

However, in some cases, a pre-listing home inspection can introduce disclosure requirement concerns. An experienced local agent will know the disclosure laws in your state and what’s best for your situation.

9. Hire a proven, top-rated real estate agent

Working with an experienced, top-rated real estate agent can significantly improve your selling experience. An expert agent brings market knowledge, negotiation skills, and a network of potential buyers to the table.

An agent can provide valuable advice on staging, marketing, and pricing your home to attract the best offers. Choose an agent with a strong track record and high sale-to-list ratio in your area to ensure you’re getting the best representation possible.

Bottom line: Preparation leads to proceeds

By following these summer real estate selling tips, you can make your home stand out in the competitive market and achieve a more successful sale.

HomeLight can connect you with a top-performing, trusted agent in your market who can assist you with the entire process — from setting the right price to enhancing curb appeal and making repairs. We analyze over 27 million transactions and thousands of reviews to determine which agent is best for you based on your needs.

We hope these summer real estate tips will help you make the most of your home sale. If you’re buying and selling at the same time, check out HomeLight’s Buy Before You Sell program below.

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