Sellers today have access to endless data and information, making it easier than ever before when it comes to beginning to plan their next move. If a move is in your future and you do not have a pressing deadline, it is wise to get a jump start on your planning. This advanced planning can potentially help you correctly time the market, reduce stress, and maximize profit.
But how far in advance should you start to plan?
If you Google this question you will see all sorts of articles and advice. However, this well-meaning advice may not fit your situation. There are many important factors to consider:
- The seasonality of your market – when is the best time of year to sell in your area?
- Best timing for you family – for example, the end of the school year?
- How much time do you need to allow for the work you want to do in order to prepare the home for sale?
Each homeowner’s situation is unique and often the best step is to consult with an experienced real estate professional early in the planning. While you may not yet be ready to list the home for sale, a quality real estate agent would be delighted to spend time with you in advance to help create an appropriate sales strategy and customized marketing proposal. This type of professional consult may help you dial in the details of your move. An agent can also help you avoid spending money on items to prep the home for sale by advising you on changes that are not valuable or necessary. This consult can even help you or connect you to the help you need to shop your next destination.
At a minimum, you will want to reach out to an agent 2-3 months in advance of your move and ask them to provide some information such as a current market update, a market assessment of trends that could impact your timing, as well as a curb to curb inspection to give you tips to fix and prepare for showing your home at its best. Not interested in doing the fix up? Then ask your agent to recommend the bare minimum you need to do to help boost sales appeal without breaking the bank or wearing yourself out. Some agents, in addition to providing quality vendors, will also offer concierge services to supervise the process and even potentially offer a quiet sale option to allow you to quietly test the buyers’ response to the property without hitting the open market.
What’s the advantage of this quiet sale? Simple, it allows you to get buyer feedback and exposure without hitting the Multiple Listing Service, where dreaded days on market could begin to pile up for all the buyers to see if you have missed the mark in pricing the home.
Determining the Right Price
The market today is fickle and prices are all over the board, one house will sit untouched while another sells shockingly over market price. Pricing your home is not a perfect science. Your real estate agent should recommend a price range and offer 3 pricing strategies for you to consider:
Pricing at the market data – Good for when you need to sell the home within a reasonable period of time, or fear you will have an appraisal problem.
Pricing below the data - Why would you do this? It would be part of a strategy to attract multiple bids and create a buyer frenzy to drive up the price and sell quickly.
The retail pricing strategy – Taking the price as high as the market will potentially bear, knowing it might be necessary to “put the property on sale” by adjusting the price in the future.
If you are like most sellers, you are aware that commission is, by law, negotiable. Yet you will want to remember the old adage, “You get what you pay for.”
In real estate, you will find that most top quality veteran agents will request a commission that is high enough for them to offer the quality marketing services you need, in order to drive exposure and bids to the home. And remember, the agent pays for all of this upfront and out of pocket, absorbing the risk and investing the time, betting on the return. This approach may be beneficial because you only pay that commission if they deliver an acceptable offer and the transaction closes. Many of the discount commission cutters require an upfront non-refundable flat fee, and then sometimes disappear. Even if this is not the case, they cannot afford to invest much in the sale of your home because you did not pay much. A full service agent, when carefully selected, will have the resources to do what needs to be done to insure the home closes. Reach out to me using the information on the front of this newsletter, regardless of when you would like to sell. I would be happy to be that full service agent for you!