When you buy or sell a home, you’re likely to get lots of unsolicited advice from friends and family. Some of that advice might be helpful while some of it might not be so helpful. When it comes to real estate, people tend to make generalizations based on their own experiences when the reality is more nuanced. Some common examples:
1. “You should wait to list your home until the spring.”
Yes, real estate is seasonal. In some cities this is more apparent than others, especially places with harsh winter weather. When real estate company Redfin crunched the numbers over the past five years, we found that 51 per cent of the homes listed in the winter sold above asking price, compared with 50 per cent in the spring.
If you want the best shot at selling your home quickly and for the most money, list in the first half of the year. The percentage of homes that sold over asking price dropped to 44 per cent and 43 per cent in the summer and fall respectively in our region. Ultimately, the difference between selling in the winter and spring is negligible. Pricing and marketing strategy is the most likely to sell.
2. “Look for a deal during the holidays.”
I’ve seen many buyers who were convinced they could score a great deal on a home by looking around the holidays. There is a nugget of truth to this concept. Fewer buyers are looking during this time period. Sellers who list during the holidays might be selling due to necessity, like a job relocation, and therefore be more motivated to sell quickly.
Sale price is ultimately a function of market dynamics and less a function of the season. The key is to be patient. I also suggest buyers look at homes that have been on the market for a bit of time. These might be good opportunities for negotiating a sale under asking price.
3. “You don’t need an inspection for a new build or recent renovation.”
Some buyers are under the impression that they can forgo the inspection for a property that is new or recently renovated. From an improperly installed dryer vent to faulty wiring, new developments can have minor and major problems that aren’t apparent until you get a professional to do a review.
While there might be competitive reasons to waive the inspection contingency in the contract, the decision to do so should not be taken lightly and should be made with full knowledge of the risks.
4. “Your home is updated and in a good neighbourhood so you don’t need to stage it to sell.”
Even the most beautiful, high end homes should be staged and photographed by a professional photographer. Listing photos are a critical factor in the selling price of your home, how quickly it sells, and whether it sells at all. Agents found that homes with professional listings photos sold faster and for more money, as much as several thousand dollars more.
A professional stager can provide objective advice on how to get your home photo-ready. They see a lot of homes so they can speak to design trends and features that are common in homes for sale in your area.
5. “Price your home above the amount you want to get, so you have room to negotiate.”
Determining what your list price should be is an art and a science. Before you list your home, ask your real estate agent for a comparative market analysis, which will help you determine a reasonable price based on sales of similar homes in your area. A Redfin study showed that the first week a listing goes on the market it receives nearly four times more visits online than it does a month later. Even if you drop the price later, it won’t get the same attention. When in doubt, start with a lower asking price.
*Article courtesy Marshall Park, Washington Post