Selling Homes Faster in 2019

Why is early 2019 a good time to consider listing your home for sale?
Buyers are looking! The showing activity shot up the week before Christmas and minus the occasional bad weather day, continues to be busy. The old adage that serious buyers are looking in the winter months still rings true. They are ready to make an offer if a home meets their want list. Less homes on the market in winter than in spring equals less competition.

What should prospective sellers consider carefully before listing their home?
Where they will go? If their home sells quickly, it is important to have a plan in place whether that’s buying another house or leasing. It’s important for sellers to understand list price vs sale price. A REALTOR® can provide the range between the two. Do not exceed that or longer days on the market are ahead for that seller. It is also important to know a realistic sale price for your home to plan for your next move and the funds you will need for that.

What’s different about selling a home today than last year or in recent years?
The market is now balanced. It was a seller’s market the past few years and while most people think that is all good, it comes with a downside of its own. In a balanced market, prices appreciate at a steady pace, inventory should increase some and give buyers more choices. Buyers might look at a home two to three times before submitting an offer, if time allows. There will still be multiple offers on some houses so it’s important for REALTORS® to communicate with each other on their buyers’ behalf.

In a multiple offer market, buyers can be quick to offer on a house. They want to lock in a contract and then sometimes get cold feet or back out over inspections when they realize it’s not the house for them. The hot market and low inventory segment: Baby Boomers and Millennials are competing for the same houses and they are two groups large in numbers. Millennials are upsizing to this type of home and Boomers are downsizing. *

What tips do you have for sellers wanting to get their home sold faster?

  • During the winter and early spring months, curb appeal is still important. Summertime, we focus on perfect lawns and landscaping. Winter is about maintenance: gutters cleaned, branches picked up, sidewalks and driveways swept and mulch in the beds, evergreen in pots, etc. If you have a pool, it’s good to keep it uncovered and clean so buyers can imagine what it will look like during the warmer seasons.
  • Interior presentation needs to be as close to perfect the day of photos and first showing. Buyers’ expectations of how a home looks has dramatically increased the past couple of years. They don’t look past a paint color, unattractive or excessive furniture, accessories or lack of maintenance. Ask your REALTOR® for handyman recommendations, landscaping, professional organizers, stagers, etc. The financial return on doing what needs to be done on the front side of listing your home pays off!
  • Provide photos showing gardens, pool, etc in other seasons. Leave these on the kitchen counter or somewhere for a buyer to see when touring your home. It helps them to get a year-round feel of the home. They do not need to be in the MLS listing. It interrupts the consistency of the photos.
  • Leave certain lights on in your home so it looks warm and welcoming for buyers driving by and for those coming to look. You want your house to be inviting in hopes they will linger and imagine themselves living there.
  • Ask your REALTOR® to schedule listing photos for a forecasted sunny day. It’s worth rescheduling if weather turns dark and dreary. If not possible, have a second shoot done and replace photos in MLS and marketing materials as soon as possible.

What realistic/reasonable expectations should sellers have in the current market?
The average days on the market has increased some but values have continued to see steady appreciation. Sellers should ask their REALTOR® for realistic pricing advice. There is a difference between houses and why some sell for higher than others. A REALTOR® can give educated, unemotional direction on how your home compares. Also, REALTORS®  understand the formulas appraisers use and can help you avoid the pitfalls sellers often fall into: Zillow estimates, what a family member thinks your house is worth, comparison to a neighboring house that isn’t a compassion at all.

Final thoughts?
National Realtor advisers are predicting that the Seller- REALTOR® -Buyer relationships will be more important than in years past. The consumer is best served by skilled, educated and prepared REALTORS®. They will help them navigate through the changes in the market with success. Collaboration between a prepared REALTOR®  and seller will be key in 2019.

In 2018, 90 percent of all buyers and sellers used a real estate agent – highest number of all time. For Sale By Owners are at an all-time low.

Pair up with a REALTOR® who is a trusted, professional advisor. They know how to navigate market changes and work on your behalf to get you to closing.

Heather Davis