Current housing market conditions and seasonal demand may impact how sellers prepare their property to sell this summer.
Feel that summer sunshine? It’s an indicator that one of the busiest times for buying and selling homes is officially here. According to the latest RE/MAX National Housing Report, inventory remains low but the number of homes for sale is up nearly 10% since the same time last year. With prospective buyers having a few more options to choose from, home sellers need to make sure their property stands out among the competition.
If you’re planning on selling a home this summer – and hoping to earn top dollar – consider these pointers from RE/MAX agents.
1. Work with an agent from the get-go
A qualified real estate agent isn’t just helpful when it’s time to list a home for sale. They can also offer guidance as a seller prepares the home – leveraging extensive market knowledge to provide suggestions on aesthetics and price.
“My first piece of advice is to find a real estate agent and bring them on board as quickly as possible,” shares Christopher Audette, team leader of The Group at RE/MAX First in Calgary, Alberta. “Starting the conversation as far in advance is really advisable. Get their advice on items to clean up or fix up – things that will make the biggest difference in getting the best listing photos and the best listing price.”
When searching for a professional to work with, consider their comparable properties sold and experience through different housing markers. It’s good to keep in mind that RE/MAX agents have more real estate sales experience than other real estate agents.
2. Put your (home’s) best foot forward
In many locales, housing continues to rebalance, with homes spending more time on market than years prior. Sellers are having to work a bit more on preparing their home for showing.
“In my local market, we’re still low on inventory so we’re still in somewhat of a seller’s market, but sellers are having to do more to spruce up their home,” says Donna Deaton, an agent with RE/MAX Victory + Affiliates in Liberty Township, Ohio. “We’re also seeing the return of home inspections on nearly every property. People are taking a bit more time before they make an offer or bid high.”
Deaton continues, “It’s essential to depersonalize your home. You want the buyers to be able to envision themselves living there – without your personal mementos.”
3. Leverage the season in listing photos
When it comes to searching for a home, buyers often form their first impression based on an online listing, which typically depicts a property’s exterior – the same exterior they’ll see when they first arrive for a showing. Curb appeal, in turn, is especially important in the summertime when vivid outdoor colors can enhance a yard’s appearance – and a lack of proper care can be glaringly obvious.
“If a buyer is going to come in with a strong offer, you want them to know that your home is well maintained and cared for,” Deaton says. “In the spring and summer, we want to see clean landscaping with the addition of flowers, fresh mulch and/or new rocks. We don’t want to see bushes that look like they haven’t been trimmed in six months. We want to see a freshly painted door, and we don’t want to see paint chipping.”
4. Aim for a move-in-ready appearance
Nowadays, modern life means many people are constantly on the go. Consequently, many don’t have the time or resources to take on a fixer-upper.
According to the 2023 RE/MAX Future of Real Estate Report, “While construction woes and inflated material costs have left many reconsidering their love affair with home renovation and DIY, the desire for durability upfront has others looking for better quality homes from the get-go.”
This means today’s prospective buyers seem more inclined to pursue a home that looks as move-in-ready as possible. As a seller, making smaller upgrades upfront can aid in that.
“We have a lot of first-time homebuyers who aren’t in the market to make tons of repairs. So, if you’re walking through your home and notice your faucet dripping, fix it or replace it. Make sure you don’t have anything that’s going to make that buyer turn around and walk out,” Deaton warns. “A lot of times I’ll even recommend sellers have a pre-inspection done; that way we can knock these issues out.”
5. Think like a buyer, too
If you’re selling a home in the current market, there’s a good chance you’re also going to be buying a home in the current market. Keep those costs – and timeline – in mind if you’re navigating two transactions simultaneously. This helps keep priorities straight when you consider offers on your home for sale.
Audette advises sellers to think about their current mortgage, and what a future one could look like, too.
“Interest rates are a big topic of conversation right now. It’s important to figure out if you’re able to port your mortgage rate and take it with you, perhaps saving you from higher interest rates,” he says. “When moving, understand what it looks like getting into a new mortgage and what the difference in [monthly] cost may be. These things are really important to discuss with your bank and/or your mortgage broker in advance to get a clear look at the whole financial picture, both on the sale and upcoming purchase.”