Nationally, the average time it takes to sell a house has dropped from 11 weeks five years ago to three weeks today according to CNN Money report (11/27/2017). "The inventory shortage and the growing economy and job creation has increased the interest in home buying," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR (National Association of Realtors). "There is just not enough inventory; people need to fight over the few homes available on the market."
Home Selling and Buying Tips
Here are a few tips to help make your home selling and buying process successful in the least amount of time:
- Be informed of current market conditions in your area by comparing sold prices of similar properties in similar locations over the previous six-month period. Include in your analysis:
- Style and age of the property
- Condition — functional as well as cosmetic
- Location — quiet street versus high traffic road and proximity to transportation, schools, shopping, and conveniences
- Both buyers and sellers can be very market savvy with the help of the Internet. There is a wealth of knowledge about house details and recently sold prices. Houses priced competitively will sell for the most money because they will draw immediate attention and offers.
When sellers trust the market, they net the most money — as in all markets, the price will rise to what the market will bear. You can often draw multiple offers with a competitive price. Instead of a negotiation between buyer and seller, there are negotiations among multiple buyers to present the most desirable price and terms.
To make your house the hot new listing, think of the look in terms of how builders model new homes. Stagers accessorize with a few current design items. Work toward duplicating elements of trends builders are presenting. A review of home-style magazines will provide a guide to current colors and design features that will appeal to your buyers.
Before spending money for updates, review the suggestions below:
- Are you a resale home or a “tear-down” for new construction? Know your value point. Depending on your responses to the questions below, your approach to preparing to sell may not include painting, minor updates, or decor changes.
- Is your home relatively new or renovated/updated?
- Are the age, style, and energy efficiency of construction outdated?
- Is your property large enough to make it more appealing to buyers and builders for new construction?
For resale for continued use of the current construction:
- Sellers can have as many as 25 photos of their home — plus videos — posted on the Internet. That’s a lot of information. Keep your home’s look streamlined so your house is featured — not your belongings or personal style, neither of which are for sale.
- Does your home sparkle? Cleanliness is the most important factor in selling a house.
- Do you have hardwood floors under carpeting? If so, remove the carpet prior to listing. Hardwood is more appealing to buyers. If your flooring is not hardwood, the most economical upgrade for an older carpet is generally a new carpet. However the flooring you select is directly impacted by the projected selling price of your home. Ask for a trusted Realtor’s guidance before you spend money on flooring.
- Are your personal belongings and/or photos on display? Aim to duplicate the streamlined look of model homes.
- Store or hide all belongings and functional supplies that are not part of the design theme.
- Daily cooking supplies, toiletries, and grooming supplies are not assets to your sale.
- Focus on kitchens, baths, bedrooms, workshops, and offices.
- Is your grout completely grime-free and do your windows glisten? Is your front door freshly painted; is your house lighting bright (without bugs or spiders)? We all get one chance for first impressions. Don’t miss the opportunity to wow potential buyers!
- Are your walls freshly painted surfaces?
- Use current trends to select a color palette that allows for buyers’ own design style to later compliment it.
- Wallpapers and prints of your own will likely not match with the buyers — making it more difficult for buyers to envision their belongings living at your address.
Proactive tips for buyers:
- Do you have a current loan pre-approval letter or plan for records you can share immediately with updated proof of funds?
- Do you have a mortgage representative who is available to update the purchase amount to exactly match the offer you are making if you are purchasing with mortgage funding? It can be annoying to a seller if your buying power is much higher than the offer you are presenting, especially if your offer is below the seller’s asking price.
- Have you written an introductory letter to accompany your offers so that your offer is an extension of you and not just a legal document? Selling a home is arguably more emotional of a process than buying one. Respecting and understanding this can help make your offer the accepted offer.
- You will want to have a template that includes a little background on you and any family members who will be occupying the house with you. Who are the buyers? Do you have family or a history in the area? What has drawn you to the neighborhood? What do you love about it? What are the general features of the home that are on your wish list?
- Personalize this letter with the specific home that you write the offer on. Compliment some design or style features that you saw and loved in the subject property, the maintenance or something else the seller has done while caretaker of your new home…but always be sincere and honest! Passion and honesty is paramount.
- Are you prepared to be able to be flexible with your closing date? Sellers may have requirements that will make the closing date flexibility a very close second place contender with the dollar value of the offer.
- Be prepared to have month-to-month rental or temporary housing and storage of your belongings ready in case your dream home is not available at your ideal time.
Remember, negotiations are an exchange of ideas, and a give-and-take. Deadlocks lead to dead deals. Needing to go back to the market most often leaves both buyers and sellers disappointed and negatively impacted financially, not to mention much more stressed! A cooperative spirit most often yields results that will make both buyer and seller the happiest.
If you need help with any of these steps, call, text, or email Susan Devaney, a licensed Keller Williams real estate agent and move manager. Her company, The Mavins Group, offers a free consultation to help you begin the process to list or sell your home: 908-723-2674, firstname.lastname@example.org.