The best time to sell a home to maximize how much it will sell for and to minimize the amount of time it spends on the market is May 1 to May 15, according to the real estate website Zillow.com. Highland County realtor Jeff Dickey told The Times-Gazette that under normal circumstances that model would be true, but today’s real estate market is far from normal.
“Right now there is a shortage of inventory, in other words, of homes to sell,” he said. “If you put a home on the market and it’s priced right, you may be in for multiple offers and you better plan on moving quick.”
He said a home that is “properly priced and properly promoted,” could have a purchase contract on it the very same day it is listed due to the strong real estate market.
Tom Flynn of Huff Realty in Cincinnati, who sells in the Highland County market, echoed Dickey’s words and said the real estate market, be it a major city or rural Highland County, is “on fire right now.”
“Honestly, if your home has been properly priced, it could sell in between one and seven days, and with multiple offers that will be all over the board,” he said. “There are still some people out there who think they can make a ‘steal’ on real estate, but with the market the way it is, the ‘thievery’ days are over.”
Zillow.com claims that its research has shown that homes sold in the first half of May sell six days faster and for more than a $1,000 above the average listing, and that homes listed on a Saturday receive an average of 20 percent more views in the first week on the market compared to homes listed on Tuesdays.
Sue Boone, owner of Sue Boone Realty, attributed the aggressiveness of today’s market to a revitalized economy.
“The economy has improved since everything crashed back in 2008,” she said, pointing out how much of a driving force it is in real estate. “With today’s interest rates, you can buy a house and in many cases the payment will be less than what people typically would pay to rent. I’ve seen some people getting 100 percent financing who don’t really have high credit scores. In fact, some of them are at 620, and some financial companies are advertising that they’re OK with a 580 credit score.”
But the National Association of Realtors says that a hot economy and creative marketing by a realtor means nothing if the prospective seller doesn’t do four things to price their home, adding that more than 15 percent of home sales are delayed, renegotiated or cancelled due to home appraisals that fall short of the contract price.
In addition to the NAR’s recommendations on pricing, Dickey advised a fifth step, which he said should actually be the first — a home inspection.
“I would highly recommend having the house pre-inspected,” he said. “Having a prelisting professional home inspection will eliminate a lot of issues later.”
Zillow.com recommended the following be done to price the home for sale:
● Obtain an appraisal report from a reputable property history service so that the property can be accurately priced. A certified appraiser measures, inspects and studies the local comparable market activity so that sellers get the most accurate price estimate for their property.
● Insure that the home estimate is based upon correct square footage, and lot or acreage size. The NAR said that online home values can oftentimes be misleading with old or inaccurate data, and that financial institutions approve loans based on accurate appraisals, not a “guesstimate.”
● Check into home improvements and cosmetic updates since they can make a difference in what a potential buyer will pay.
● “Stage” the home by looking at it from a buyer’s perspective. The NAR advised that buyers want to see themselves, not the seller, living there.
Flynn agreed with that last assessment, saying that he advises sellers be away for showings so that prospective buyers can get the feel of the home for themselves.
“I tell sellers they need to be gone when the house is being shown,” he said. “For example, I recently had a showing on a Monday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., and that house had four other showings that night. I had another realtor say to me it was like an open house on a Sunday.”
Depending on location and pricing, Zillow.com claimed the ideal date to put a house on the market can be as early as April 1 or as late as July 15, but in the current market, Flynn said a person could list a home on Christmas Eve in a blinding snowstorm with sub-freezing temperatures, and still expect it to sell within a matter of days.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.