FAQ by home sellers

When should I sell my home?

There is a lot that goes into the timing of home selling. Some of the timing depends on personal life that may include school & work schedules, starting of new jobs, as well as other events in the seller’s life that may affect the ability to dedicate to the task. There are also the market aspects to timing. One consideration is the location of the property because markets do differ on buyer activity pattern. If for example, a property is in a destination location, then the influx of seasonal buyers may help determine the best time to list. In contrast, a more traditional market may have a steady buyer pattern throughout the year that allows for more flexibility. The determination on how much a pattern will affect when to sell can be reached by analyzing historical data over the course of several years. In many markets, there is an increase in home sales in late spring through early summer. Much of this relates to the transition that many home buyers and their families go through relating to school calendars. Shopping by those buyers often occurs over spring breaks and purchases follow in the early summer. Another factor is curb appeal. Homes tend to have great curb appeal in the spring and summer with landscaping in full bloom, and that often translates to higher perceived value to buyers. Homes sell all year though with strong results in all months, so in most cases the actual month or week in which to list is not as crucial as some may think.

How is the real estate market right now?

That in itself is a very broad question that covers a lot of aspects. What sellers usually mean by asking that is “How is the market for my purpose right now?”, and that purpose includes a lot of details. Just not selling, but selling their particular type of property in their particular location. For example, a single family home in a traditional subdivision may be selling very differently than a condo in an urban or vacation destination, so it’s wise to see how the market is doing for a specific selling purpose. Real estate professionals can pull data from their local MLS to see patterns and relationships to see how the subject property compares to market trends to see if the market is strong for selling at that particular time.

What do I need to do to my home before selling?

Every seller’s ambition, motivation, and willingness to invest in a home they’re selling is different. When markets are hot and inventory is low, there’s also a popular mindset that sellers don’t need to do anything because the home will sell anyway. Well, let’s consider something: Demand helps drive price. Quality (“niceness”) helps drive demand, so even in a hot market investment into a property to elevate it’s perceived value can help a seller to net more in their pocket. The degree to which a property needs improvement will span the entire spectrum from a total fixer-upper to one that may just need some cleaning, paint, and maybe some carpet. Other homes may only be 1-2 years old, lived in lightly, and may need hardly anything done prior to listing. In addition to the evaluation of condition, ALL homes should be presented cleanly to bring top dollar. The closer a home can resemble a model home, the better presentation it’ll make to buyers and that translates to a higher sales price. Buyers want to see “space”, so a home should not be cluttered. Closets should be less than 50% full, counters should be completely cleared (of everything… even your favorite décor, and the home should be presented brightly – all lights on. A complete home interview should be done on every home to establish a punch-list of items that need to be done prior to having the professional photos done for the listing. A few things that all sellers should consider looking at are:

  • Curb appeal – how is the lawn, landscaping, steps, sidewalks, driveway. Provide attention to these areas.
  • Does my home have a scent? Owners may have acclimated to it if present, so they may need to ask someone who will be honest with them. Resolve the issue and refrain from using air-fresheners to mask scents.
  • Paint – Fresh paint is one of the best returns when selling a home. Paint should be neutral and on trend with what new homes are using.
  • Function – Are my home components functioning correctly. If the home is inspected, those items will be spotlighted. It may benefit the seller to resolve those ahead of time.
  • Mechanicals – Ensure your HVAC and water-heating units are operational. These are heavily scrutinized by buyers and they’re impressed when they’re in good condition.
  • General cleanliness – Think about the first impression you get when you go places. The cleaner a place is, usually the better impression it makes. Put your home in an impressive situation.

Many answers relating to listing and selling a home is very specific to the property, location, and market conditions.  What works for one property may not work for another, but through careful analysis of the property can result in a strategy to bring the seller top dollar.

Posted by Shaun Larson on

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