Four Things to Consider Before (Maybe) Listing Your House Next Year

Thinking about listing your house in the spring? Here are a few things you should absolutely consider in the meantime.

1) Declutter, declutter, declutter, And then declutter some more.

It’s been said time and time again, but this holds absolutely true - especially in this area, where even a “starter” home can cost more than a half-million dollars. Before opening your home to the market, and to so many potential buyers (and sideline judges), you must declutter as much as possible. This means getting rid of anything that might distract buyers from what they’re actually purchasing: the house and the space within it.

2) Set your expectations accordingly.

Start to research comparable properties. You can do this by reaching out to a realtor friend to run a list of similar properties that have been marketed and sold, or by visiting open houses in the area - or both, preferably. Whatever you do, move beyond trusting Zillow - information on the site can be outdated, inaccurate, or both. As a real estate agent, I often joke that bad Zestimates keep me in business.

3) Get a handyman.

The things you can live with - a door that’s a bit off its hinges, a drippy faucet, some moldy caulk - will cost you in a real estate transaction. In many cases, a buyer will begin discounting your house the minute he or she walks in and sees something even a bit off-putting. Overcome these obstacles before you even face them by hiring a handyman to take care of minor (and major) fixes. Or, if you’re a DIY-er, try to take care of a few of these things yourself. It’s amazing what you can learn from YouTube.

4) Photography counts.

Online photos make or beak a listing. Many people won’t step foot into your home if the photos are blurry, blotchy or just uninspiring. If you know a realtor, reach out to them to make sure that they will hire a professional to take photos of your home. Better yet, ask him (or her!) to get some photos now that everything is green and gorgeous - vs. waiting until next February or March, when your lawn will still be brown (and your trees bare). You can even hire a professional to do this for $50 or $75 - but make sure they know what they’re doing - there are people who specialize in architectural and real estate photography, and they make all the difference.

Meg Mullin is a Madison mom, realtor and writer. Feel free to reach out to her for information about buying or selling – she has tons of experience helping clients with both. You can reach her at or 973-845-8375.