By Michael Ardolino
There’s an old saying that you can’t time the stock market. Well, in some ways, you can time the real estate market. Here are some strategies to consider.
Take advantage of the prevailing winds: Homeowners, this is the strongest seller’s market I have seen in about 15 years. To maximize your profit, your best course is to list as soon as possible. If you wait until spring, you will have much more competition. Often, time is money. If you miss this market, you may have to wait another 15 years.
Consider the opportunity cost of waiting to list: While discussing the fact that low inventory has pushed up home prices, Bill Banfield, vice president of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans, wisely noted the other side of the coin, stating, “While sellers are obviously thrilled as their investment continues to grow in value, this trend could make home buyers set their sights on smaller homes in less pricey neighborhoods. I would encourage homeowners who are considering listing their home to take advantage of the opportunity they have in this seller’s market.”
Understand real estate’s renaissance: Some owners who have not sold a home in many years don’t fully understand the dynamics of selling in today’s new market. Technology has speeded up the pace of transactions. Zillow, virtual tours, real estate apps, online mortgage applications, electronic signatures, texting, video chats and other advances have changed the pace of the industry.
Fully 95 percent of buyers use the internet in their home search. Buyers now come armed with full mortgage preapproval letters, further hastening transactions. Sellers must be ready to go to contract and close the sale promptly or risk losing qualified buyers. Time is of the essence. The Moving Checklist for sellers at www.LongIslandHomeConnection.com will help you plan accordingly.
Take the time to prepare: The competition is fierce, and buyers are sometimes literally lined up to pounce on new listings. The best homes, priced properly, go very quickly. Those that are less desirable or overpriced languish on the market, and price decreases become necessary.
Make sure your home is in the former category. Do your homework. Get advice from your listing agent as to repairs and maintenance needed. Are there large projects, such as new windows, painting, or driveway paving? If so, allow the necessary time up front.
Hire a professional cleaner and consider a professional stager. According to research by the National Association of Realtors, 50 percent of staged homes saw a 1 to 10 percent increase in dollar value offers from buyers. Staging makes it easier for buyers to visualize themselves in the home, according to 77 percent of buyers’ agents.
Keep on top of the news: Interest rates remain low, historically speaking, but have been edging up. Reports indicate that inflation concerns could cause the Fed to raise rates more quickly than expected. Sellers, time your sale so that you can also time your purchase, in other words, before significant rate increases.
Michael Ardolino is a founder and broker-owner of Realty Connect USA in Setauket.