Autumn marks the end of the summer selling season for home sales, which means you'll need to do more to impress buyers.

Many buyers with kids who have returned to school don't want to uproot their children in the middle of the academic year. Plus, the temperatures are starting to drop, so moving conditions aren't as favorable, especially if snow decides to arrive early.

These obstacles are not to say there won't be any people out house hunting. In some cases, a speedy sale could be the outcome as buyers try to get settled before the first frost. Regardless of the situation, the goal remains the same: You want your home to be the one they pick.

Here are five tips to get the upper hand on the season:

  1. Pay attention to curb appeal. The exterior of your home must be tidied up in any season, and fall comes with specific landscaping needs. Autumn brings the golden, red and brown leaves that litter your yard. Grab a rake and collect them to keep your lush lawn visible. Additionally, grab a ladder and take a look at your gutters. Clear out any leaves and other debris that can block the flow of water and appear unsightly to buyers. For decoration, you can hang an autumn wreath on your front door or display a few gourds. Keep in mind that curb appeal is essential, as a home that appears poorly maintained may cause buyers to believe the property inspection will reveal more serious issues. Also, don't forget your backyard.
  2. Stage your house interior with fall decorations. With the seasons changing and bright, beautiful flowers withering away as it gets colder, you won't likely be able to find petunias to place on your tables. Instead, grab some small pumpkins and display them around your house. To further embrace the season in your decor, update the colors in the home. While you're probably not up for painting the walls in deep orange and red hues, you can always use autumn-themed throw blankets, placemats and other items to bring in the season. A good first step is to update your bed linens.
  3. Let there be light. Many buyers will want to visit your home in the evening after they get off work. As the days become shorter, this could mean you'll have more guests after the sun goes down. Make sure your house has plenty of light. Replace burned-out bulbs, and if you have a selling agent, tell him or her where all the light switches are located. If you may not be home while guests after viewing the house, you may want to consider timers or photosensors to turn the lights on automatically when it gets dark. Also, clean your windows and open blinds so natural light can provide an unobstructed glow during the daytime.
  4. Give guests a warm welcome. Although freezing temperatures may be a few weeks away, autumn days can get to be pretty chilly. Ensure your home is more welcoming than the cold air outside by keeping the temperature at a comfortable level. If you have a fireplace, use it to your advantage. During an open house or showings that are scheduled with adequate notice, keep a fire going and arrange your furniture around the fireplace.
  5. Remember moderation is best. As stores become packed with autumn decorations, you may be tempted to go overboard with the theme. A light touch is best, as buyers may not be as interested in a house with gourds sitting on every table.