Updated: Sep 22, 2020
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the market is white-hot right now. While it is normal for real estate markets to go through cycles, with low inventory, record low-interest rates, and high buyer demand, the best homes are going quickly right now.
However, if you really look closely, you’ll notice something pretty interesting happening. Homes are either going the first few days they are on the market, or sitting for weeks or even months, then selling well under the listing price. Why? Well just because the market is so hot, doesn’t mean that everything is selling. You still have to set yourself up for success to really win as a home seller, even in this market. Here’s how to make the most of it:
1. Price it Right. Yes, home prices are up due to buyer demand. But pricing your home at the very top of the price range or well over local comparable sales to ‘see what you can get’ can backfire in a big way. Pricing is THE most common reason a home sits on the market for longer than it should. Plus, you have a narrow window of maximum opportunity (generally considered to be the first two weeks on the market) where you will have the most attention on your home. If you spend those two weeks overpriced, traffic will be much lower, and you will be much less likely to receive an offer on your home. After this period, your home will likely have to undergo price adjustments before you finally sell, potentially resulting in less money in your pocket than if it was priced correctly from the beginning. Working with a local real estate agent who is a market expert can help you get it right the first time and sell for the most possible money. Want the data to back it up? Check out my post: the reasons why your home isn’t selling.
2. Prepare Your Home. Doing things like eliminating clutter and making necessary repairs can help show your home in the best possible light. Take some tips from professional stagers and remove excess items or furniture, neutralize colors, and put away most personal items to give your home maximal appeal to buyers. Consider things like shifting furniture placement to better define areas of the home and help buyers understand exactly how to utilize that space. Get even more tips or even a home prep checklist to help get your home show-ready so that it can sell quickly. Need even more help? Consider hiring a professional stager, especially if has been a while since you’ve updated your home. After all, staged homes have been shown to sell an average of 73% faster than empty homes.
3. Insist on a Professional Photographer. Most buyers decide whether or not to view a home-based exclusively on information like photos and videos that they view online. Poorly lit or DIY photos will not present your home in the best possible light and may cause a potential buyer to decide not to even step foot through the door. If you have searched for a home for any length of time you know exactly what I’m talking about because you’ve seen it first-hand. Pictures of corners of a room and spaces that appear dark or filled with clutter do absolutely nothing to attract you to a home. Your goal with the online listing is to draw as much attention to your home as possible. The more interested buyers, the higher the likelihood that you receive an offer at (or above!) list price. The good news is that if you hire a full-service real estate agent, this type of service is typically included in the price. Personally, I pay for professional photos and a virtual tour for all properties that I list (out of my own pocket) because it is worth every single penny.
4. Choose the Right Day for Your Listing to “Go Live”. Typically, Wednesdays or Thursdays are the best days for a listing to hit the market. This allows buyers to find the home to tour and to maximize attention generated moving into the weekend when a lot of buyers are doing the majority of their searching. Plus, if your real estate agent is planning on hosting an open house, hitting the market on these days allows for potential buyers to plan accordingly to attend. Your go-live day can mean the difference between a quick sale or sitting on the market for an extra week. Just make sure your home is ready to go before it officially hits the market and that all repairs, staging, and prep work have been completed so that when you start getting those home showing requests you are ready to roll.
5. Be Ready to Go. Most buyers don’t want to wait to move in so be sure you are ready to move out within 30 days of your home hitting the market. While you can set up a temporary occupancy agreement, this is often considered a concession for buyers, so you might have to make compromises elsewhere (and that could mean less potential money on the sale). With the market as hot as it is and if you prepare and price accordingly, be prepared for a quick sale. If you don’t already have a new home to move into, look into storing your furniture in a storage unit or a temporary apartment or hotel room until your new home is ready. Even if you already have a new place to go, make sure you start to look into moving companies ahead of time so that you have a game plan for move-out day.
If you set yourself up for success in this current market, be prepared for multiple offers. It’s a great problem to have but remember that not all offers are created equal, and it’s not always the highest price that makes for the best offer. Have your agent walk you through not just your net sale price but also any contingencies or special stipulations in the contract that could cause hiccups later. After all, it doesn’t matter how high the offer is if it doesn’t close.