What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of summer? Beach days? Ice pops? Flip flops? All of the above? I know I’m not the only one who is long overdue for a summer vacation… And I’m sure all have that one lucky person in our lives who takes fabulous trips, comes back with incredible stories, and an unbelievable tan, only increasing our desire for freedom. But for the many of us who are so busy we can only dream of such a getaway – let alone, actually take one. Especially if the biggest thing on our to-do list is to sell a house before fall rolls in out of nowhere. The most we can hope is that it ends up being much less stressful than we make it out to be in our minds. But, the truth is, that there’s no magic formula for the best, easiest, and quickest way to get from “for sale” to “sold,” but let me offer some helpful tips…
1. Making sure you’re prepared
Once you start to think about selling your home, the first thing to do is to go straight to your best and most valuable source – your agent. Sitting down with them, you’ll be able to get the most comprehensive idea of what the market is like at the time, what you may need to do to prep your home for sale, discuss a strategy, and (hopefully) get all your questions answered. Whether you’re selling to make a lifestyle change, to pursue a new career, or just because it’s financially favorable, it can be emotional – so give yourself time! One of the greatest things you can do is to embrace the process – don’t rush through it. The best time to sell is the best time for you.
2. Timing can make a big impact
There will always be reasons not to do something that needs to be done. Maybe the timing isn’t right, life is hectic, and there’s so much on your plate already. But that doesn’t make it a “bad” time; it’s just not the “right” time. Personally, I would say there’s no definitively “bad” time to sell your house. There are so many factors that could impact the need to buy or to sell for any person. In my mind, there are only “good” and “great” windows of opportunity to take advantage of. Taking advantage of the right time to sell your house can vary based on the type of property you have and what the market is like at present. The easiest way to break down timing is by season:
Spring & Summer. Spring and summer are by far the most popular time to sell a home, and for several reasons –
- it’s finally warm enough to walk around comfortably, and the days are longer, which means more time to visit open houses
- once those kiddos are out of school life gets a tad bit more flexible, and people are able to seriously think about moving… in between vacations, of course
- nobody wants to pack up and tackle the hassle of moving while it’s freezing cold or snowing outside, so spring/summer is the next best choice
Fall. Fall can sometimes create a sense of urgency for home buyers and sellers –
- most of us are left asking ourselves where the summer disappeared to and the realization that it’s time to head back to real life (work, school, schedules, etc…) sets in
- there’s a mad dash to settle in to a new home to get acclimated before the new job or new school begins
- on the plus side, fall tends to be the time of year that people are most motivated to buy or sell because of a sensitive timeline and/or the desire to be in a certain school district, county, or proximity to work
Winter. Winter is traditionally considered the off-season in the Richmond real estate market, but that doesn’t mean everything stops completely –
- you may be wary about listing your home during the winter months, but there is a better chance that the people who come out to see it are very seriously looking to buy
- you only need one offer to make a sale happen so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get as much interest as you expected to
- the hustle and bustle of the holidays shouldn’t deter you from putting your house on the market – the #1 item on someone’s wish list might just be a new house
But, most of all, the “best” timing depends on what works for you and your family.
3. Photos and staging matter
High quality photos and professional staging can make a big impact on someone’s initial impression of a property – really, huge. When it comes down to it, before we go out to see a house, a car, an item of clothing, (or anything really) we judge it by the photos that are posted online. Because we’re all so tech savvy nowadays, bad photos could be the difference between receiving multiple offers and potentially qualified buyers taking a pass on a house that may be perfect for them. Just as a poor quality photo can put a damper on interest, an empty house could have the power to do the same. For some people, it’s difficult to see past an empty space. It could be equally as difficult to see past too many of the homeowner’s personal items. That’s where the magic of staging comes in. A staged space can be the neutrally magnificent key to opening someone’s imagination up so that they can picture themselves in your home. It’s those small things that add up to make a big impact. But when it’s right, it’s worth it!