In today’s real estate market, most homeowners heed the advice of their realtors and spend a good deal of time and money preparing their homes for the market. After all of that effort, it’s natural for them to wonder “What should I expect, now that my home is actively for sale?”
For many, their initial experience mirrors that of the homeowner whose property Barry had listed in July, 1989, just as the market was losing steam in advance of the early ‘90’s housing slowdown. When, two days after the home had been listed for sale, there had not been a single showing, the homeowner called and lamented, “I feel like I gave a party and no one came.”
The best advice for any homeowner to consider is, “Be prepared at any time for a showing.”
Consider these important factors:
Contrary to the markets of the 1990’s and early 2000’s, we rarely see a surge of showing activity on a home immediately after it is brought to the market. Buyers and selling agents alike tend to assume most homes take some time to sell, and consequently don’t tend to rush to see each new listing. Yet, the reality is that showings may occur any time – and frequently occur in bursts of activity, often with no logic or rationale to their timing.
The only real given is the market’s unpredictability. This holds true for buyers as well, who too often lose the home they want, either because they fail to act or they presume they’ve got endless time in which to make a decision. It’s rare but not uncommon to receive multiple offers on a home which has been on the market for months – or to receive multiple offers on a brand new listing.
A seller who is new to the market should also recognize that there is generally a lag time before many of the efforts expended to promote the home can be felt. This is especially true of print advertising and promotional materials.
Sellers often observe individuals driving by their home and appearing to write down phone numbers or other information on the home. It often confuses the sellers when immediate showings don’t ensue. In reality, these “prospective buyers” more often are simply gathering information and ultimately following up with their own agent or retrieving information later on the internet.
Many homes, of course, take quite some time to sell. This is not necessarily an adverse reflection on the condition, price or location of the home, but rather a function of the healthy level of competitive inventory for sale. However, this also warrants a periodic review of the competitive edge a home offers. For example, as seasons change, it’s essential to keep your lawn and landscaping looking fresh. It’s also important to take a fresh look at how your home’s interiors present themselves. Are the photos used to promote your home timely, or do they imply that the home has been for sale for an extended period of time? Do you have interior or exterior spaces or amenities which deserve refreshing as the seasons change? Do you have outdoor furniture which would improve the appeal of those spaces, if installed? Does your pool need to be opened, or your sprinkler system turned on? Do your windows need washing or screens need to be installed? Does your garage warrant a fresh clean up from winter sand and salt? Has your shrubbery suffered from winter kill? Did winter ice dams damage your gutters? Does your “For Sale” sign look weather beaten, or has the ground’s thaw and spring winds caused it to droop?
Finally, as your home is shown to active buyer, review the feedback your agent is receiving on those showings. If there are consistent themes to that feedback – whether regarding condition or value – take time to consider what you can do to make your home more competitive.
Most sellers, no matter how conscientious, make extra efforts to present their homes as favorably as possible. As a result, most homeowners live differently in their homes while those properties are for sale – often less relaxedly. While there are no absolutes or guarantees, the more conscious sellers are of how their home competes in the market, the better the chances of securing a favorable sale as expediently as possible will be.