The 2020 Spring Market
Despite the recent February snowfalls, the Spring Market is heating up quickly! We are seeing new listings hitting the MLS daily with many listings receiving offers in the first few days. The remainder of the listings are taking several days, a few weeks, or a few price drops to attract that qualified buyer. Here are a few tips to help make your listing stand out from the competition.
1. Get ready. No matter how great the market is, good preparation of your property is a critical step that could result in thousands of dollars more in your pocket at closing. Excellent curb appeal, completed repairs, and “staging” can help a seller to make that great, first impression. There are various levels of preparation including the following:
A clean, neat/decluttered, and organized property is a MUST when you show your property. This includes the garage, closets, and the basement. This is the MOST basic step in preparing a home and most of the time, the investment is mostly your time. Cleaning carpets and other repair projects may require an additional investment of money and effort.
Completing those obvious “condition” issues that buyers will notice (i.e. scuffed woodwork, walls in need of touch-up paint, a doorbell that does not work or a door that does not close properly, etc.) will likely prevent you from scrambling to address those issues after you have an accepted offer. Even small condition issues matter to the buyer because they do not want to tackle any projects after they move into their new home.
What buyers see, smell, hear, and feel often shapes their experience when visiting a home. Updated furnishings that are not too trendy or modern appeal to a wide spectrum of buyers, but not every seller has the budget to make many changes. Sometimes borrowing items from friends or family that will make a room feel more updated (curtains, area rugs, throw pillows, and artwork, etc.) can freshen the look of your rooms. Make sure that your home does not smell like your pet(s), food, or a scented wall plug-in because any strong smell can turn off the buyer. Background music can also make your home feel more welcoming as buyers visit.
The highest level of preparation is making the lifestyle connection. Buyers coming to visit a condo property where the development has amenities like a pool, tennis courts, and clubhouse, might love to see photos of the pool party or annual barbecue; those photos might convey that the neighborhood is friendly and well-liked by the owners. A buyer visiting a home on a lake may appreciate experiencing the patio set-up for an afternoon party or Independence Day celebration. Those personal photos and touches can sometimes make such a strong impression that the buyers immediately feel like they are home.
2. Professional photography. Seems like an obvious recommendation but it is amazing how many new listings are coming onto the market with photos that look unprofessional or don’t highlight the unique or desirable features of a property. When Buyers visit, they determine if the photos accurately represent the property that they are visiting; we don’t recommend extensive photo-shopping or the use of extra wide-angle lenses as rooms can appear to be better or larger than they actually are. Exterior photos using a drone also provide the big picture view of the home, yard, and neighborhood. Video tours are also gaining in popularity as many buyers appreciate that virtual walk-through of a home prior to their visit.
3. A great listing description. What do Buyers want most? Almost every Buyer wants a move-in ready property that won’t require an investment of more money especially in the first few years of ownership. So, highlighting updates or the special features/attributes will help other Agents and Buyers understand how well-maintained or updated your property is!
4. Market price. Even in our current market, we are seeing listings dropping in price after a week or two of showings. Determining market price can be a challenging process since sales prices this year are more reflective of the low inventory levels than the location, features, and updates of the property itself. Listing agents should be providing you with information about competing properties as new listings hit the MLS or if Active listings change in status or price. Active listings that have a recent status change to “Active with Offer” or Pending are our best indicators of what Buyers find desirable in today’s market. Understanding the seller’s goals also helps us to determine the market pricing of a property since some seller’s want to sell quickly, others want top dollar, and some want both!
Once your property is ready to be listed on the MLS, ensure you are listing with the Broker that will best represent your interests. Benefit Realty has experienced and friendly Realtors on staff, many who have worked for other traditional 6% Brokers or other Discount Brokers. Our clients love to spread the word about our Agents because those buyers and sellers have experienced the Benefit Realty difference – Service, Savings, Sold!
Written by Natalie Wolski-Kieffer, Broker-Associate with Benefit Realty