Spring is here! But when it comes to selling your home, planning ahead is key to making it as smooth a process as possible. Therefore, to take advantage of the traditional “hot” summer season (pun intended), now is the perfect time to get a head start on preparations to sell your home.
Here are 5 tips to prepare for the summer selling season:
Tip #1: Know Your Own Timing
Selling a home that you currently live in means that you have to know where you’re going next. Are you planning to buy another home concurrently? Do you plan to rent for a short while and then buy? If so, how long do you intend to rent? Do you need to be concerned about which schools your kids will attend after you move? Whatever you wish to do, identify it and then work backwards on how to get there.
Tip #2: Get Ready to Show Off Your House to Strangers (and Nosy Neighbors)
In order to sell your home, you need to make it as easy as possible for prospective buyers (and perhaps some nosy neighbors) to see your home, both inside and out. If possible for you and your family, do your best to allow for showings as often as possible, every day of the week. If that’s not feasible, devise a plan with your Realtor to optimize showing times that work best for you while still giving access to prospective buyers at reasonable times during the week.
When it comes to the presentation of your actual home, the more “style” that you add to your home, the better the chances of you getting a higher offer. In many cases, less is more. Less clutter, less personal photos all over the walls, less toys all over the place, less furniture. This part is probably the toughest pill to swallow for sellers because it really imposes on your everyday life. And every time a showing occurs, your house needs to be looking (and smelling) great. In addition, you need to take precautions in securing your valuables. Consult with your Realtor or a home stager on how best to present your home in the midst of you living there.
Tip #3: Prepare to Repair
Do you have a leaky faucet in your master bathroom? Do you have some broken tiles on your floor? Is there a crack in your living room window? Make a list of all the items that don’t work or are broken at your house. Then, consult with your Realtor or a handyman/contractor about fixing them. If you decide not to fix certain things, you may have to lower your list price. Or even worse, once such items are discovered during a home inspection by a buyer that you’re already under contract with, you may end up negotiating that you have it fixed immediately (at your expense), or have to offer a credit to the buyer at the close of escrow, or the buyer may decide to walk away from the transaction altogether. Not cool. Very stressful. Let’s try to avoid those scenarios.
Tip #4: Communicate Your Summer Plans
Make sure your Realtor knows when you’re going to be out of town on your annual summer vacation while your home is listed for sale so that you can plan ahead accordingly. That week-long vacation to Disney World may require that you either have to stay on top of emails, phone calls, and/or text messages while you’re away, or you have to be okay with perhaps missing an opportunity with a great buyer while you’re on vacation…and that’s okay. Just make sure your Realtor is aware and that everybody is on the same page regarding your vacation plans, with expectations set appropriately.
I had one client who went to Europe for two weeks while we were in escrow on a property. Fortunately we both had access to iMessage via our iPhones or iPads, and we tested it prior to my client’s trip to ensure we could stay in touch that way. We were able to conduct business very quickly and easily. Kudos to technology!
Tip #5: Be Realistic About Your Price
The expectation is that you can get more money for your home during the summer season. Is that true? Generally speaking, yes. We tend to see more buyers out there during the summer (especially in family-friendly areas that operate on a “regular” school year), which drives up demand. But, that doesn’t mean you should list your home for 20% more than the market value. You have to be realistic about your home’s market value by talking it over with your Realtor and doing your own research.
Remember when “stuff hit the fan” back in August 2007? I vividly remember that time. That was during the summer selling season, but the market took a nose dive quickly after that. Hopefully that won’t happen again in such a hasty fashion, but we just have to be mindful that the market is volatile, and buyers have too much information at their fingertips now to be oblivious to it. As such, sellers need to be open to the possibility that their home may not sell for significantly more than the other house that sold last month, even though it’s an exact model match. Any Realtor that always promises that they can sell your house for “more money” probably has some gimmick up their sleeve that they hope you fall for. Your home will sell for as much as it is (perceived to be) worth based on the preparations that you put forth into this home selling process alongside your Realtor and other “team members” (e.g. home stager, contractor, cleaning crew, etc.).
For more information on what it takes to sell your home in the Orange County area, please feel free to contact me.