If you follow the real estate market at all then you’ve likely heard that spring is the best time of year to sell your home. But many experts today will tell you this isn’t always the case. The decision of when to sell is a personal one and it comes down to several different factors
If you’re thinking of putting your home on the market, here are a few timing considerations.
According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), spring is generally the busiest time for selling a house. The organization found that in 2019, May and June accounted for 40 percent of annual sales volume, with June being the busiest, while November through February were the months with the fewest sales.
“April through July typically draws the highest percentage of sales because the weather is warmer, yards look their best, buyers have more time to shop, it stays lighter longer in the evenings, and it’s prior to the start of a new school year,” she said. “I often have sellers prep the interior of their homes during the winter months, and then work on the exterior in March to get ready for an April listing.”
Maybe more important than the season is the local trends. Is it a buyer’s market? A seller’s? What is inventory like in your price range? What is happening with home values?
“Buyer demand, interest rates, the economy, what is going on in the world…these are all variables that are constantly changing,” said Whybrew.
The best way to get a feel for how much your home is worth under current market conditions is to talk with an experienced, local REALTOR®. He/she will put together a comparative market analysis (CMA) that compares your home with properties in your neighborhood that are currently listed, those that recently sold, and those that were taken off the market. Your REALTOR® takes that analysis and adds in other factors — seller needs, interest rates, the current economy, time of year, etc. — to determine a value range.
Your home’s condition
Whybrew says throughout her 28-year career her answer to when to list is always the same…”when you and your home are ready.”
“To get top dollar, your property has to show well, and that may require some time to clean, make repairs, and handle staging,” she said.
Even if there aren’t major repairs needed, small cosmetic changes — a fresh coat of paint, some new cabinet hardware, a thorough decluttering — can make your home significantly more appealing to buyers.
Your personal situation
Market conditions may be great, and the weather might be perfect, but that doesn’t always mean it’s the right time for you.
“Buying and selling happen year-round because there is always a need for shelter, and that has never been more apparent than today,” said Whybrew. “As REALTORS®, we discuss timing considerations with our clients, but sometimes you have to throw statistics out the window and do what is best for you, when it is best for you.”
A trusted partner
Whybrew says list price and marketing are often more important than time of year and enlisting the help of a REALTOR® is the best way to ensure a successful sale in any season.
REALTORS® have a lot of different marketing strategies up their sleeves, they have access to a large network, and most importantly, they know the local market. Their goal is to sell your home quickly and for the most money possible, regardless of timing.
“If the last couple of months have shown us anything it’s that ‘when’ isn’t the most important consideration,” said Whybrew. “No matter the season or the circumstances it all comes down to what makes the most sense for you.”
Are you interested in selling your home? Contact a local real estate professional to help navigate through these market conditions. Visit www.lansing-realestate.com for a list of local REALTORS®, lenders, inspectors, and more.
Virtual home buying and selling: REALTORS navigate coronavirus crisis
The 2020 real estate market started out with a bang, but as COVID-19 shifted from an outbreak to a pandemic, things slowed down significantly. Despite the current stall, there is still activity happening. After all, sellers still need to sell, and buyers still need to buy. Deals can be made, but today’s climate means REALTORS® must get creative to meet their clients’ needs, while adhering to safety precautions and state regulations.
It’s all virtual
Social distancing and shelter-in-place orders have completely changed the way real estate is being done. Michigan’s current stay-at-home order prohibits REALTORS® and real estate photographers from physically leaving their homes to do business. Buyers aren’t allowed to tour homes in person (even if the home is vacant), there are tightened restrictions around home inspections and appraisals, and closings are handled remotely or with limited people in attendance.
So, how are deals being done? Everything is happening online. While it’s true there were already a lot of virtual components in place, it was primarily driven from a convenience point of a view. Now, it’s a necessity.
“The world of real estate is open and will stay open,” said REALTOR® Carin Whybrew, associate broker with Coldwell Banker Hubbell BriarWood. “We’re working from home and continuing to serve our clients online, by phone, social media, Skype, Facetime, Zoom…whatever it takes.”
REALTORS® are depending on solid online marketing strategies now more than ever, relying heavily on social media to promote listings and using multiple platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
“The in-person, face-to-face world of real estate has changed, but we’re embracing it, learning from it, and powering thru to keep buyers and sellers moving,” said Whybrew.
REALTOR® Amy Sweet with Sweet Team Homes of RE/MAX Real Estate Professionals DeWitt recently worked through this new virtual environment on both the buyer and seller end and said the process, while much different, went smoothly.
I had a client who was anxious to see a property that had only been on the market a couple of days,” she said. “I worked with the listing agent to set up a Zoom tour, and with all of us online, the seller conducted a video walkthrough of the property, including the exterior and a pole barn.”
After the call, Sweet talked with her client who decided to put in an offer on the property, contingent on a physical walkthrough once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
“I have since listed my client’s current home,” she said. “Again, we’ve had to do things a bit differently, so I’m relying on him to take photos and send me measurements and additional information needed to get the listing ready. During normal times, sellers generally have little involvement in showing homes, but these are far from normal times.”
Guidance is essential
With everything being done online, the current process seems simple, and for many buyers and sellers, it is. While technology makes it easier to navigate these unique times, REALTORS® caution that there is a lot more to a successful, virtual real estate transaction. Now, it may be more important than ever to have a trusted agent on your side.
“Buyers and sellers are together during these tours, which doesn’t typically happen, so everyone needs to understand the process and what to expect,” said REALTOR® Terry Frewen, broker and owner of Coldwell Banker Frewen Realty. “A livestream tour isn’t the time to ask a lot of questions or discuss a potential deal. Wait until after the meeting to talk with your agent and let them gather the information and handle negotiations.”
Sweet agrees and says she is prepping her sellers by having them do a practice run before any livestream tours.
“There may be things I want them to point out that they would not even think of, so I like to have coaching calls where I walk through the process and give them tips on how to facilitate the tour,” she said. “Good communication with our clients has always been important, but in this current climate, it’s critical.”
Buying or selling a home during a pandemic is new for everyone. And with how quickly things are changing, having a REALTOR® who is up to date on current mandates and rules is of the utmost importance.
“Navigating this new environment is an adjustment, but buyers, sellers, and agents are working together to make these transactions run as smoothly as possible,” said Frewen.
If you need guidance on buying or selling a home during COVID-19, visit the Greater Lansing Association of REALTOR®S website at www.lansing-realestate.com for a list of area REALTORS® and other real estate service providers.