Thinking of selling? The questions I most often get asked when people are thinking of listing are: what time of year is best time to sell? What updates should I do to my house before I list? And should I try to sell it myself? these are just a few and there are many more but I am going to address the above because these are the ones I most often hear.
First lets address time of year to sell. With over 14 years experience I can honestly say that there is no bad time to sell. It really depends on your main goal on why you want to sell. For example do you want to sell before the new school years starts? Do you have a motivating factor to sell in the winter opposed to the summer because of a potential job offer? Any time of the year can be a profitable time to sell but there are times of the year that typically give you a higher pool of buyers looking to purchase. The early spring and summer months from March to June tend to draw more people out to look but that doesn’t mean that your best buyer may not show up in Dec or Jan because of a relocation opportunity or a divorce, death, expanding family, lease expiration, etc. In fact Oct is usually one of my busiest months in Real Estate and I have have busier winters at times than summers so I would not discount any month to sell.
I would however keep some nice spring or summer photos just in case you decide you want to sell in the winter and you want to have some nice photos of your yard all greened up with flowers in bloom or your pool looking appealing in the summer. Just be prepared if you contemplating selling in the winter months. Contact myself or a Realtor for advice we are always willing to help.
The next big question is what should I do to my house before I sell. This really depends on how out dated the home is and the condition but my advice is always this. If you don’t have the money to do updates then a good declutter and cleaning on inside and outside, including windows is a great way to start. Remember you are moving. Store things that you are not needing right now away in boxes and either rent a storage or put in garage. Go through your drawers and get rid of stuff and declutter. Same with closets, get rid of clothes, shoes, purses and things your not wearing. Go through kids rooms and donate or sell items that are not being used. Decluttering and cleaning will make a house look brighter and bigger. If its spring or summer plants some flowers to brighten up the outside and if its winter bring some color in by adding a wreath on the door or some faux topiary in pots on each side of the front door. Inside you can add fresh flowers to your entry table or dining table. Add new towels to the bath rooms and always put personal items under the counters when your not using them.
Think of model homes when preparing your home and theres another idea go walk through a few and get inspiration. If you have some money to update, the top updates I would suggest is paint, lighting, and flooring and of course the big ones kitchen and bathrooms. New is better than old so even if you are replacing flooring with a inferior product such as vinyl, new neutral vinyl is better than torn and soiled vinyl. Lvp has become a great go to for flooring and there are several affordable ones on the market. Same goes with carpet, it may not be what a potential buyer would pick but trust me most people would rather move into a house with new flooring opposed to worn out carpet. My best advice is always to use a stager when getting ready to sell and this is something I personally offer to my clients free of charge because a staged home sells better than a non staged home and the goal is to get it Sold for top dollar and staging allows us to do this.
Lastly lets talk about selling For Sale by Owner. Currently in our market we are seeing homes move pretty fast so the big question is why not just sell it myself. I don’t need a realtor to sell for me if there are so many buyers out there why should I pay someone. Well there are a few things that you need to understand before jumping in and being your own Realtor. Believe me I am a do it yourself gal when it comes to a lot of things so I get it. One of the biggest issues is that most people are going to have a Realtor that will be representing the potential buyer coming to buy their house. That leaves you being the only one that is not represented in the transaction. Not a good place to be. Kinda like going up against a pro basketball player when you only played a few neighborhood games. Secondly if a buyer that is not represented by a realtor comes in, they usually don’t know what to do next. Most have not gotten a pre approval so they may not even be qualified to purchase your home.
A quick story that happened to me a few years ago, when a buyer came through my model home. The couple loved the home, their home had been on the market for sale by owner for 3 months. They wanted to get it sold so they could by the model home. I did a walkthrough of their home and it was beautiful and the price didn’t seem to high. I ran comps for them and confirmed their price was at market. I asked them how many people they had look at it in the last 3 months. They said they had a lot of people that came through and they seemed very excited about the house but never went any further they said we don’t know I guess how to get them to the next level and they obviously didn’t know how to do this either. We ended up listing it the next week for the same price and they got 3 offers and ended up getting 10,000 more than they were asking.
This is a common problem with for sale by owner buyers they just don’t know the process. They like the home but what next. If they have an agent that agent will be making sure they are pre approved, they will run comps for the buyer to make sure they are not over paying and they will know what forms to use that will protect both parties but most importantly they will get that buyer to write an offer if they like the home. When you are going in not knowing the process it makes people not put pen to paper because of the unknown. Lastly the majority of Real Estate law suits that end up in court are sadly for sale by owner transactions. Without proper representation a lot can go wrong. Having a professional by your side during one of the biggest financial decisions you may make is a smart move. I had one home that had a IRS lien on the title and potentially that lien would have been passed onto the new buyer if they bought the house and it wasn’t removed before title changed. A lot can go wrong and unless you know your stuff its best to leave it to a professional and not risk losing all your profit.
Bouchey Real Estate Group specializes in New Construction, Listing, Selling and Commercial sales with over 14 years of experience in the industry.