Thinking of selling your house this year? We need to talk now!
You may find that it's hard to talk about real estate with memories of Thanksgiving turkey and Hanukkah/Christmas presents fresh in your mind, but if you're thinking of selling your home in 2015 we need to communicate right away.
Don't make the costly mistakes that so many home sellers do by waiting too late to put your home on the market, not cleaning and decluttering, and not being prepared for the emotional stress of selling your house! If you are seriously considering placing your home on the market, you absolutely need to read on. Click on the links in the post too and read the great home selling advice from several highly successful Realtors across the country.
When is the Best Time of Year to List Your Home?
You may have heard the old real estate adage that the real estate market is the hottest during the hottest summer months of the year. Well that's just False! Springtime is usually when the market is the hottest. In fact, having your Albuquerque house on the market during the hot summer months of June, July and August is not good - assuming that you want to sell quickly and for the most money possible.
True, the home sales stats are reported by the media during the hottest months of the year usually sound great, but what you need to understand is that by the time all the sales have closed and the numbers are reported, the peak of the real estate market has already come and gone. That's because housing stats usually lag 45 to 60 days behind the market. How far behind are the stats? Very far indeed!
Most of those homes that sold in the summer months were in escrow, in pending status, for 30 to 45 days. And once they closed the numbers aren't tallied until the end of the month and then they are not even posted until the month after that! Plus there's the average number of days it takes to sell a house in Albuquerque. Right now it's around 65 days. Add the 65 days it takes to sell plus the 30 to 45 days it takes to close once you accept an offer and you'll see that it takes between three and three and a half months to sell your house from start to finish, from list date to closing date. And that's assuming one very important thing- that your house is not overpriced!
Over the last five years, the peak month for home sales have been May (in 2010 and 2012), June (in 2011), and July (in 2009 and 2013). So pull out your phone, look at your calendar and let's count backwards from June 1, once you do the math you'll see the best time to list is around February 15th. Start from mid May and you'll see that you'll want to list by February 1st. Cant quite get your house ready and want to roll the dice and shoot for July?
Then you can list as late as April 1st (but why take a chance unless you absolutely have to?) So the best time to list your house for sale is between February 1st and April 1st. I bet that's earlier than you thought! What happens if you miss that target like many home sellers do? You'll be competing with way more home inventory and fewer buyers too. That's a recipe for longer market time and lower price offers. To hammer my point home, look at what happens to the absorption rate, the important balance between buyers in the marketplace and homes on the market and you'll see the number of homes available per buyer balloons over the hot summer months.
Preparing Your Home for the Marketplace
By now you should understand why I'm saying that we need to talk now! There's a lot to do before you place your home on the market. In fact, most of what you have to do as a home seller happens before the house hits the market. That means you need to start de cluttering now!
Just Say No to Clutter!
Nothing hurts the prospects of selling quickly like too much stuff. You can't control the market conditions, you can't control the neighbor's yard that looks horrible, but you can control how much stuff you pack away to get ready. Besides, once your house sells you're going to moving and its way easier to do this now! And this is actually a great time to start decluttering. While you're taking down the Christmas tree and packing away the holiday decorations, look for opportunities to begin getting rid of some things like those light strand the no longer work, and making sure others are packed away nicely in boxes with labels. Don't stop there! Look in that storage space where you're putting the decorations and see what else needs packing up and labeling. Or better yet, you may want to consider decluttering by category instead. Do all your clothes, then all your paperwork, etc. Just don't forget to keep all your important house papers handy as Massachusetts Realtor Bill Gassett points out here: 9 Ways to Clean the Clutter Before Selling a Home.
Clean Like You've Never Cleaned Before!
Nothing says extended market time and lowball offers - if you get any offers at all - than houses that are dirty. Wash the walls, scrub the baseboards, have the carpet cleaned or better yet replaced, dust those hard to reach places. Buyers can be unmerciful when they are shopping for homes, even is their current residence is a mess! That's because buyers look for reasons to disqualify houses, and dirty houses and houses with obvious repairs don't cut it.
Get a Home Inspection and Begin any Needed Repairs Now
I always recommend this but only the smartest home sellers heed my advice. Why? I guess they don't want to pay the $350 it takes before they have a buyer because the buyer may pay for it themselves. The only problem is when the buyer orders the inspection and finds out there is a costly repair needed, they will probably demand that the most expensive method of repair is chosen, or worse yet, they may just walk away from buying your house at all. Do buyers walk away over repairs? In a market like the current one the answer is yes! Why not eliminate the risk be having a pre listing home inspection. Not only will it remove the risk of a buyer walking away over a costly repair, or even a silly one, but you'll get to choose how an item is repaired, who does it and how much you pay.
Preparing Yourself Emotionally to be a Home Seller
Remember how much fun it was to go home shopping? Well, it should have been fun! It was all about seeing the homes that had great pictures online that excited you enough to go see the house in person. Unfortunately, selling is much different. In fact it's not fun at all. As my Realtor friends Chris and Karen HIghland explain in this article Selling Your Home Equals Life Interrupted. If you thought buying a home got frustrating at times, selling requires much more emotional stamina. As the Highlands point out, one of the keys to success is to detach emotionally and be dispassionate throughout the transaction. That's sage advice but it may be harder than you think. Read their article carefully so you'll be prepared!
Extra Credit Reading for Home Sellers:
Contact Me Now. Do. Not. Wait!
Ok, I just threw a lot of information at you about the best time to sell, the importance of cleaning and decluttering and about how to prepare yourself emotionally for selling your house, but don't despair. When you choose me to be your Realtor I take a sincere interest in you and your home. I will be there to advise you every step of the way. Call me right now. Let's make sure we speak sooner rather than later so you can get the best advice! by Albuquerque real estate agent Rich Cederberg, eXp Realty. (505) 803-5012.