It’s that time of year again; the real estate market is getting hot along with the temperature. And that’s about the only thing most are able to predict about this year’s real estate market. Since the Great Recession, early forecasts about home buying and selling trends have typically missed the mark; the trends have varied, sometimes significantly, from year to year. Notwithstanding a very active season, many will be in for a surprise; some will be pleased about their home sale, while others not so much. And if you are selling a home, I’ve provided some tips to help you cope with this year’s housing market.
The most important point to remember this year: many home buyers are looking to buy a home, but not necessarily yours. The notion that your home appeals to all home buyers is false. If your home isn’t selling as fast as you thought it would, consider stepping back for a moment to re-evaluate your home and marketing plan.
Most home buyers are looking for a “turn-key” home and won’t settle for just anything on the market. Additionally, most are not willing to spend time and money updating a home they just purchased. Know your home before marketing it and consider making repairs if your home has considerable deferred maintenance.
The next item to remember this year, is that no matter how well your home shows: be prepared for a less than complimentary home inspection. Because there are a number of systems and many components to your home; chances are that there are items that need attention, repairing, and/or replacement – which the home inspector will cheerfully point out. Home inspectors will visually inspect your home, probing structural components when necessary; a detailed report indicates their observations. Most home inspectors are not experts in all aspects of home construction; and commonly recommend other professionals to examine items more closely.
As a home seller, you should understand that buyers in today’s market are under pressure about the investment they are undertaking; and are willing to walk away based on the home inspection findings. Sometimes, it’s not what – but how it’s said that will rattle buyers. Regardless, an uncomplimentary report does not have to blow up the deal. Be prepared for extra rounds of negotiating after the home inspection. Every transaction is different, and your agent should provide guidance on what’s reasonable and appropriate.
A final thought: don’t get greedy, but don’t leave money on the table either. Although inventory remains an issue in a number of areas, don’t feel compelled to over price your home based on the lack of homes for sale. However, don’t be complacent with the “average” home sale price of the neighborhood either. When comparing recent neighborhood sales, you should make pricing adjustments (plus and minus) depending on differences in your home’s age, amenities, size and other factors.
A word of caution: There is a growing trend in the reliance on automated valuations by real estate agents. AVM (automated valuation models) are helpful, but not always accurate. These reports are based on public information about your home and may not include correct information. If your agent recommends a sale price based an automated valuation, you should scrupulously review the report. If the report confidence level is low to medium, be prepared to carefully review the report and comparables, making adjustments as needed.
Dan Krell is a Realtor® with RE/MAX All Pro in Rockville, MD. You can access more information at www.DanKrell.com.