YES!! The best time to put your home on the market is when YOU are READY!
It is important to have a good game plan for time and preparation. You certainly don’t want to put your home on before its looking perfect and ready for buyers. But I know it can be confusing with market conditions and timing, so here are some hints to help!
I hear spring is the best time – is that true?
The Real Estate market is definitely seasonal. In the spring is when most people list their home, thus when most buyers are out looking.
Summer – Many people are traveling during this time, so it could be slower, but your home WILL sell and buyers are DEFINITELY still looking.
Fall – Families are back in school, so inventory starts to slow down, but this is when many buyers who had no success in the Spring/Summer, find exactly what they are looking for. There is less competition and they can often take more time to look and decide.
Holidays – This is by far the slowest time of year. No one wants to move during this time. However, the buyers and sellers who have listed their home and are looking to move, are doing so because they HAVE to. Typically a job change, or other life event is propelling this move, so in turn they are serious buyers.
In the Seattle area, we typically see the market start to pick up mid-Jan/early February. Buyers are out there and ready to go!
But I want to make sure my house is ready.
Absolutely. 100%. No question about that. I, personally, would never advise a client to hurry and get their home on the market before it was ready, just to catch a certain month or week. As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” so make it count! Photos, marketing, and that first week of showings is crucial in the Seattle area.
Last Spring, the average house was on the market only 20 days before selling. However, you’ve all heard the stories about homes selling in just a weekend. In the last two months, the market has shifted a bit and we’re looking at roughly 50 days on market on average.
While this seems like a lot, the homes that are “market ready” and priced right, are still flying off the shelves. Just this week I had a buyer put in an offer on a home that had been on the market less than 24 hours. We were the 4th offer and luckily got it! But the house was ready and priced right – and buyers recognize that!
(Above chart is the average days on market (orange), by month since Nov 2017. The green line is how much % of the asking price, the house sold for. For example – in January of 2019, the average home sold for 95% of the list price)
How do I know if my house is ready?
- Together with your agent, take the time to go through each room and make sure your home is tidy and staged to perfection.
- Start packing now! You’re going to move eventually, so why not box up half your belongings and put them in storage while you’re on the market?
- Have your Septic System tested and inspected before going on the market. Time and time again, I’ve run into septic issues that could have easily been resolved and not wasted buyer/seller time if they had been addressed before going on the market.
- Gather any reports for furnace inspections, pest inspections, and other ongoing maintenance services. These records put buyers at ease that the home has been well maintained.
My house is ready, now what?
- PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY! When your home looks perfect, have a professional take the photos. Most agents pay for this as part of their services (as they should). If your agent does not hire a professional, request they do or recommend a professional to you. Keep in mind that by professional, I don’t mean someone with a nice camera who takes family photos of their friends on weekends. Your photographer should be experienced in capturing all the tricky angles and lighting in a home.
- Your agent will prepare quality marketing materials and put it on the market!
Through this process, work closely with your agent. Ask their opinion on what things you could upgrade to make your home sell for more. Paint, carpet, lighting, staging….it all plays a part!