Congratulations! You have survived the nail biting experience of buying your first home. Now you can relax, pick your paint colors and enjoy your home….for about 14 years or so. At least that is what statistics from the National Association of Realtors tells us.
Recent data tells us that the average home seller is 55 years old and has been in their home for about 14 years.
Whether you fit this statistic or not, I can guarantee if you’ve been in your home more than 3 years much has changed in the real estate market since you bought it. Home values are constantly fluctuating, design trends are lasting for shorter periods of time and the lifestyle of homeowners continues to impact the home values neighborhood by neighborhood. And of course we can’t forget the role that ever-changing school rankings and property taxes play.
So, if you’re ready to sell your home – regardless of how long you’ve enjoyed it – here are few things to keep in mind to make the process go more smoothly.
- When you sell a property you won’t feel in control because you are the one waiting for the offer. It can be grueling for sellers in some markets to deal with an onslaught of showings, while in other markets showings are few and far between. Sellers are often surprised by the number of last minute no-shows for appointments — buyers have very little regard for the seller and what they do to prepare a home for a showing. When they are house-hunting they tend to only think about themselves, their schedule and their wishlist. As agents we try very hard to keep our appointments on-time and to encourage clients to keep all showings on a tour, but sometimes buyers simply don’t show or refuse to get out of the car at a property.
- Some buyers think they can get control by limiting when showings can occur — I strongly recommend sellers NOT take this approach. Limiting days, times and methods of scheduling showings will make it unnecessarily hard for buyer agents to include your home in a tour. To get the most exposure you need to get the most people through the door, so making reasonable showing instructions like 2 hours notice, allowing an electronic lockbox to be used, keeping your home tidy at all times and ensuring that all pets are taken care of during the day/evening will all help you get the most showings, the most feedback and ideally a quicker offer.
- Try (easier said than done) to not take feedback personally. Buyers’ agents are giving you honest feedback so that you can better prepare, price or position your home. If you take feedback to heart versus as a way for you to make your home shine it will be hard for your agent to share it with you. Instead take some time to get familiar with what has sold in your neighborhood, how long things are sitting on the market for and what amenities and features are commanding top dollar. Your home has served you well for years and you love it, but now is the time to begin to let it go.
- What your neighbors house sold for last year doesn’t matter. Real estate value is always changing and your Realtor can talk to you about current values in your neighborhood. It’s so important not to get attached to old values and old data. What you thought your home was worth last year may be very different than this year. Also, your neighbors home might have a different floor plan, be further from a negative attribute than yours, have updates like granite, hardwood floors, or new appliances or simply feel more like a home that todays buyer is looking for. Listen to your Realtor closely during the pricing conversation, over-pricing is never a good strategy and a realistic price should result in a well-trafficked listing and offers within the first few weeks on the market in most areas.
- Lastly, understand that your Realtor, the buyers, the home inspector and the appraiser may all make requests for improvement to the home along the way. Some you can consider and decide not to do, but others, if mandated by the appraiser for example, may actually kill a deal and start you back at square one. As a Realtor I work hard to anticipate property issues with my sellers to avoid as many surprises as possible and also have candid conversations about what repairs need to be done and can be afforded by my seller. The condition of the home plays right into the type of financing we can consider from a buyer, so knowing upfront what we are dealing with will help to market and sell the home efficiently.
As a first time seller there are so many moving parts out of your control. I work to explain the process, help you align with professionals that can help you along the way like contractors, home inspectors, stagers, attorneys, and lenders and manage the process from start to finish so you can continue to focus on your life while your home is on the market.
If you’re considering selling your home please call me, Julie Avellino, 203-414-9479 and let me work with you. “I manage the transition, not just the transaction.”
Julie Avellino, Realtor/Broker
The Higgins Group
1499 Post Road
Fairfield, CT 06824