Many Sellers think selling a home is a decision to make on the spur of the moment while they’re doing their grocery shopping.
There are a number of issues they need to consider before sticking that for-sale sign in their yard. Here at Solutions, we can help you decide whether the timing is truly right for putting your house on the market.
What level of attention and expertise do you need?
Some Sellers want a consultant who provides real estate expertise and backs off while they make final decisions and hire vendors to get the property in what they consider to be listing condition.
Other Sellers have mentally moved on and want the listing agent to do everything but write the checks.
If you feel like you would be on one side more than the other, now is a good time to sit down with your Solutions agent and go over your expectations.
How you communicate is just as important as what you communicate.
Just as agents need to determine what level of service they’re happiest providing, Sellers need to decide exactly what services they expect their listing agent to provide and make those expectations clear up front.
What market-specific information do you have or have a plan to acquire?
To keep a home from sitting on the market, timing the sale to coincide with months of greatest buyer activity is smart. Prime selling season can vary from city to city, region to region and state to state.
Only an experienced, local real estate agent can guide you on the best market timing for your property. Spring might be optimum to put properties on the market in general, but some markets are also busy in the summer, fall and winter months.
Do you know who your likely Buyer will be?
An agent who sells a lot of properties similar to yours is apt to have a better feel for which properties appeal to specific groups of Buyers, which means they get snapped up fast while others linger on the market.
What property condition and features do your probable Buyers demand before they make an offer?
A good plan might be to spend your weekends visiting open houses similar to yours in what you think will be your broad price range. Then, pay attention to who attends the open house, as well as what the house looks like.
Do you understand that today’s Buyers expect HGTV homes?
What that means in real life is staging a home to sell is no longer optional in most markets. It’s a good idea to understand how good stagers merchandise a house.
Professional help is a great idea as this is not a DIY opportunity.
Are you aware mortgage lending standards have changed dramatically?
Is financing readily available for your property? If not, Sellers — or their agents — need to get financing options nailed down and addressed — to the extent possible — any issues that might affect whether Buyers can find a lender to offer a mortgage on specific properties.
Do you know how to price your property?
Real estate website “estimates” are calculated mathematically. Algorithms simply cannot take into consideration which properties are in a sought-after neighborhood and which, although they might be mere blocks away, are not.
Your Solutions agent understands the local market and will be able to help you come up with the best number to list your home to get the greatest amount of attention, and offers, right away.
Pay attention to prices on homes in different neighborhoods. Factor in property condition versus Buyer expectations. Buyers bid on properties based on appearance and how the space will work for them. They will pitch fits if anything much is wrong with the structure or mechanical systems.
Plan to list at a reduced price if your property or neighborhood is affected by significant negative factors that are outside your control. Uncontrollable variables have to be addressed thoughtfully and with care and the right list price to reflect this will make a big difference.
Mortgage interest rates affect pricing, too. When interest rates go up, the number of Buyers at entry levels dwindles. And that affects home prices from the bottom of the market up.
Determine a realistic sales timeline is in your market for properties similar to yours
Depending on its current condition, count on spending two weeks to two months to get your property in shape before it goes on market.
If you haven’t done anything to keep the property updated, be aware that Buyers expect to pay much less for properties they must immediately go to work on. And some Buyers won’t touch them at all.
Getting home and/or pest inspections upfront can save you a lot of anguish and prep time. Staging and professional photography adds another week to the timeline, sometimes more if the weather isn’t cooperative, as many markets experienced this winter and well into spring.
The first week to 10 days after a property goes on the market is dominated by listing agency office tours, broker caravans and public open houses. So you’ll spend more time out of your house than in it.
Once that frenzy has passed, unless you’ve moved out, you’ll be living in a staged home and vacating it for showings — along with other family members and pets. This period is, hopefully, short. Even then, it will feel like an eternity.
Once the property is in contract, you will generally have another 30-45 days to get packed up and move out.
The good news is, during that time, you won’t have to endure many additional showings. Of course, inspectors will be examining every crevice of your home for the first couple of weeks. But, they’re not much swayed by staging, although a home that’s a total wreck doesn’t usually earn high marks.
The resale inventory housing shortage is real here in the Charlottesville area, especially for those vacating homes who plan to rent as rents can often be much higher than a mortgage. So, it’s prudent to know what your next move is.
Do you know what you don’t know?
Your Solutions agent does know what you do not. So, if you’re even thinking about selling, start looking for the best agent for you immediately. Agents like long lead-times and are happy to talk to you early in the selling process.
‘You get what you pay for’?
You should probably keep that in mind when the siren song of the cut-rate broker falls on your eager ear. If you don’t know what you don’t know, the biggest thing you don’t know is how much a cut-rate broker can actually cost you. Being armed with correct information is the best way to move forward on the successful listing and sale of your home.