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Brighten up the chances of selling your home

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Clean windows: you might not notice smudges but buyers will

Dear Heather,

I am thinking of putting my home on the market but the days are getting shorter and Christmas is just around the corner ... is this really a good time? If so, how can I make it show at its best?


Dear Seller,

The autumn real estate market is almost always a hot season. In fact, it’s the second-best time of the year to sell a home — families have returned from summer vacations, kids have gone back to school and the holidays aren’t yet upon us. We are set to enjoy a couple of months of normalcy, and that’s a great time to sell a home.

People are happy and relaxed as the temperature begins to drop. It’s not just sweater weather that creates activity in autumn; it’s the scurrying of agents diligently working to pop a few more sales into the hopper before Christmas.

Here are some great tips for attracting the autumn homebuyer:

Clean up the yard

In Bermuda, this is the time of year that shrubs love to grow as it is a bit cooler and we tend to get more rain. Don’t let overgrown vegetation block windows or path to the entrance. Cutting bushes and tree limbs will let the sun inside and showcase the exterior of your home. Cut away summer vines and cut down dead flowers. Make the most of the cooler weather.

Create kerb appeal

Freshen up paintwork, powerwash pathways, plant popular autumn/winter flowers and shrubs to brighten up your flower beds. Place pots on the steps and along the sidewalk. Accent with pumpkins or other types of squash.

Dress the windows

Rain and wind from over the summer months can make your windows dusty and streaked by the time autumn rolls around. You might not notice smudges but buyers will, if only on a subconscious level. To sell a home, your windows need to sparkle. Remove screens and spray them down.

Clean out the fireplace

Nothing smells more like autumn than smoke from a wood-burning fireplace. If you have a gas fireplace and it is a cool day, light it when buyers come through.

If the fireplace is dusty because it hasn’t been used for months, vacuum it out and wash it down. Sometimes you can place candles in the fireplace in place of logs.

I recently came across some battery-operated ones, with flickering wicks, that you can put on a timer. They look very pretty and if you have small children or pets they can add ambience yet are still safe.

Prepare edibles

Speaking of autumn scents, you might set out freshly baked pumpkin cupcakes or simmer hot apple cider on the stove. Put a tray of cinnamon sticks on the counter, dotted with whole cloves. Fill a bowl with crisp red apples.

Use autumn accent colours

You don’t need to dump a lifeless sofa when you can accessorise its dullness with bright red, orange and/or golden yellow pillows. Toss a quilt or autumn-coloured throw over a chair. After you’ve cleared away the clutter and depersonalised each room, bring in a little bit of autumn with bold-coloured accent pieces in odd groupings such as threes and fives.

Create an autumn centrepiece for the dining room table by arranging some traditional Bermuda greenery, like snippings of cedar, baygrape and spice around orange or autumn-scented candles. Try popping in a couple of fern leaves, there are lots growing wild all over the island.

Turn on the lights, everywhere

Above all, bring in the light. When days get shorter, the sun sets lower in the horizon and casts wider shadows. Pull up the blinds, open the shutters, push back the drapes on every window.

Turn on every light in the house, including counter lights, closet lights and stove surface lights. Brighten darker rooms with few windows by placing spotlights on the floor behind furniture and please, turn off the TV. It is very distracting to both buyers and agents.

So don’t be afraid to put your home on the market in autumn, people are still looking and they just might be looking for a home like yours!

Heather Chilvers is among Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty’s leading sales representatives. She has been working in real estate for nearly 30 years. Contact her at hchilvers@brcl.bm or 332-1793. All questions will be treated in confidence. Follow Heather Realtor Bermuda on Facebook and @heatherrealtorbermuda on Instagram

When days get shorter, the sun sets lower in the horizon and casts wider shadows. Pull up the blinds, open the shutters, push back the drapes on every window