As real estate agents, we get asked “When should I put my home on the market?”, “What is the market like?”, or “When is the best time to sell my home?”. The real answer is, homes sell all year. The housing market ebbs and flows throughout the year with spring and summer seeing a lot of buyer demand and late fall and winter seeing less. If you are moving out of necessity then the time to sell is set by those circumstances, but if you have some flexibility, the best time to hit the market is between late February and early July. So yes, we are in peak season now.
Selling a home isn’t always as easy as one might expect. Markets and buyers can be elusive at times and it might feel like things are just not falling your way. If you have gone through the selling process before, you know that the weeks on market can seem like an eternity. This being said, there are some actionable steps you as a seller can take to make your home more appealing and more likely to sell quickly.
FIND THE RIGHT AGENT
The real estate agent you choose to work with can make a huge difference in your home selling experience. A good agent will be able to guide and advise you through every step of optimizing your home sale. Finding a good agent starts with research. Some things to consider when reviewing agents:
1. Is this a career for them or are they doing this in addition to a primary career?
2. Do they have excellent references?
3. How do they communicate: in person, text, email, voice and how does this fit with your style?
4. Are they telling you what you need to know or what you want to hear?
5. Are you choosing them because they are a friend or family member or because they will do a great job for you?
6. Are you choosing based on their commission rate?
7. Do they seem confident, professional and competent?
8. Do you feel comfortable that you can entrust one of your largest financial transactions with this person?
9. Are they up to speed on current technology and marketing techniques?
10. What services do they provide?
BE WILLING TO MAKE NEEDED REPAIRS
If you have deferred maintenance or updates on your home, then addressing them prior to going on market is wise. No one wants to remodel their property just to sell it, but even minor improvements can go a long way toward yielding a higher profit and/or reducing your time on market. Consulting with your real estate agent early and often during the pre-sale time period is a great first step in determining what improvements/repairs will be most effective and yield a better return. A quality agent will be happy to perform a pre-market inspection with you to provide much needed advice on updates and repairs they see as warranted to meet your goals. Often, your agent will be able to provide resources to make the repairs easier and/or less costly. Remember, they sell houses every day—if you are a typical seller you will sell a home every 7 years!
DON’T MISS AN OPPORTUNITY BY TESTING THE MARKET
Putting your best foot forward the minute you go on market is key to a smooth process. Things that could cause you to miss opportunity include:
1. Flirting with indecision. Most agents and buyers can tell when a seller is serious about selling their home.
2. Sticking a sign in your yard and trying a “for sale by owner” scenario without researching the market, having a marketing plan, having a showing plan, knowing what is required by law to transfer property.
3. Pricing your home based on your emotional attachment, what you have invested in it, or a perceived value. Comparable sales will typically give you an accurate value of your property. For you, this can be an emotional decision, for a buyer not as much and definitely not for a lender or an appraiser.
4. Letting your property languish on market without responding to professional advice or actual buyer feedback.
5. Neglecting to provide easy access for showings.
6. Wasting time with unqualified prospects.
7. Poor home staging.
8. Lack of professional photographs and advertising on the internet.
9. Delaying any pre-listing check list items with the expectation that buyers won’t discover them.
10. Being unrealistic with home inspection negotiations.
As mentioned above, selling a home isn’t always as easy as it might appear, but finding the right real estate agent and listening to their professional advice can really make the experience a lot less stressful. Having your agent help you establish realistic expectations for the process can alleviate a lot of frustration, disappointment and mistakes. One of the most important things to remember when selling a home is that it is a business decision.
With more than 40 years of combined real estate sales experience, Donna Baker and Delores Doussard of the DREAM TEAM would welcome the opportunity to provide our knowledge and expertise in the local market to you in a no obligation interview. You can read our other real estate articles on our website blog at www.DreamTeamMax.com or by following us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DreamTeamMaxRealtors.
We love to make real estate dreams come true!