Friday, January 25, 2019 / by Hardy Real Estate Group
Should You List Now Or Wait for the Spring Selling Season?
Conventional thinking says wait until the warmer months to put your house on the market. Here are a few reasons to rethink that idea.
Many homeowners reach out to their real estate agent at the beginning of the year to consider their sale options — typically for the spring. Starting that conversation sooner than later is a good thing so that you and your agent can come up with a punch list of items to fix that need attention, if needed. Our team can get a listing live on the market within a few days from staging, to professional photos, and getting the listing live on the market. However, depending on the condition of the home, it can take a few weeks for the seller to fix those items and prep the home for showings.
Over the years, we ask sellers if they would consider listing their home in January, right after the first of the year. Their reaction is always, “who sells a home in the dead of winter?” they ask.
Our answer, many sellers not only successfully make it happen, but actually end up better off. Here is why:
Buyers are looking... 24/7 - 365 days/year
In the past, buyers waited for spring to start their search because that is when the majority of listings hit the market for the spring selling season.
Today’s buyers look at listings all day, every day. They have apps on their phone, get listings texted and emailed to them, and do not care about the time of year.
They are looking for inventory, and with the continued low inventory, they will buy a home well before the spring if it meets their criteria because they recognize that it is hard to find and you have to act fast in order to get the home you strive for. List your home in January, and you will have a captive audience.
Bonuses, inheritances, tax benefits and interest rates:
Every year, real estate agents’ phones ring come January. Previously active buyers want to re-engage, and new buyers surface. What causes this yearly recurrence?
The end of the year often brings family gatherings, financial activities and discussions about gifting for tax implications and conversations about inheritances and taxes. Thus, getting the funds in order and a goal homeownership get set at many families’ holiday dinners.
Additionally, at year’s end, people take stock of their income, find out about work bonuses, and start thinking about whether they want to spend another year renting. Not to mention, buyers take into consideration tax benefits of homeownership.
Whether it is a new buyer who moves quickly or a previously active buyer who re-engages, these house hunters are around in January and will look at your home IF it is for sale.
Another big factor now is, interest rates have gone down a little!! It is fair to say, the rates will continue to rise in 2019 so buyers will want to secure a house sooner than later!
Curb appeal consideration and competition?
Typical sellers wait until spring to list. There is no doubt that curb appeal is better come spring putting a spotlight on outdoor areas which make houses visually appealing and inviting in photos. Reality is, kitchen and bathrooms sell homes, so as long as those spaces are in pristine shape, ideally updated, your home will be in the running at any time of the year!
List in the spring inevitably means more competition. There is a higher probability that there will be two or three similar houses for sale in your neighborhood or school district, in your price range. Thus, it changes the supply-and-demand balance. You are better off being the only house in the neighborhood when you wish to sell.
Also, if you need to get into your next home and you are a flexible seller — meaning that you are not under any time restrictions or contingencies to sell, and your home is already in showing condition — considering to list in January, you can always control and negotiate your closing deadline with a buyer to line up with your next home. If someone falls in love with your home, they will be willing to accommodate your preferred closing date.
Finally, many buyers have been at it for many months (sometimes years). So, when they re-start their search at the beginning of the year, they are tired of open houses on Sundays and become more intentional with their showings. This is your target buyer. Those buyers are why it is better to list in January than to wait until spring!