Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone, but the best time to sell your home is in the fall. Yep, that’s right and the proof is in the puddin’.
Most Sellers believe that the spring and summer are the prime months for selling their homes and why wouldn’t they? Flowers are in bloom, the sun is shining and by golly their homes look magnificent this time of year. With that logic in mind, everyone lists their place and the market is saturated with inventory. For a community like Ashland, we have found time and time again that while the spring and summer months bring a lot of showing activity, they don’t necessarily bring the ready, willing and able buyers.
There’s no doubt our little Ashland is a magical and seductive place. Some even call it Mayberry, so it’s not hard to understand why many people around the United States decide to vacation here. They see a few plays, have exquisite meals at our wide selection of local restaurants and they take a wine tour or two and the list goes on. They also meander past the downtown shops, peering in windows and gawking at the real estate flyers plastered in each of the offices. From there, we see many curious “prospective” buyers hook up with a broker and set off to take a tour of our community and the inventory that is for sale. Rarely, do we find that the walk-in is actually in a position to make a purchase on that trip. That’s not to say they don’t eventually buy something but in our experience, the spring and summer months produce a lot of “looky-loos” and the fall and winter bring out the serious buyers.
Think about it…. It’s quite enjoyable to tour around a town on a sunny day with a local expert, seeing what you can get for your money, learning about the community, the desirable and not so desirable areas, etc. But, schlepping around in the rain and wind to check out the handful of homes in your price range takes dedication and determination. If you want (or need) to buy a home you will brave the elements. You see, as soon as November rolls around and many holidays are on the horizon, lots of Sellers pull their homes off the market. Big Mistake. Sure, we understand as much as anyone that the last thing a Seller wants to do on Thanksgiving weekend is displace 15 members of their extended family to prepare for a showing but please, don’t take your home off the market. Rather, consider an adjustment to the showing instructions, such as requiring an appointment through your Broker. This way your Broker can screen the Buyers to make sure your efforts to prepare for the showing aren’t in vain. A serious buyer will wait for you and your home to be available. One who is just kickin’ tires will move on, if you ask the right questions.
For numerous years, some of our best months for closings are December. Those escrows are typically originated in October or November. I recall countless calls to other agents that time of year, in desperate need of properties to show clients. The end of the year brings about buyers who have to complete a purchase before the end of the year. It also brings back the looky-loos who fell in love with Ashland in the spring, went home and got their places sold and now are desperate to find something. As a home Seller, this is a match made in heaven.
This week alone we have gone on four listing appointments and every one of them made a comment to the effect of, “Should we just wait until the spring?” In unison, we nearly shouted, “No!” and after explaining it a bit further they all realized the time is NOW.
If you’re a Buyer, the fall and winter are also advantageous for you. The Sellers who have had their homes on the market since the spring are typically more motivated (i.e. flexible in price) to sell because they have tested the market and clearly if their place is still available, the price isn’t being supported by the market. They realize that if they don’t seriously consider the offer at hand, it could be 6 months before the next flurry of buyers come to visit not to mention all the new competition that will detract the attention from their place.
There is no question the number of showings in the fall/winter are considerably less but we find the quality over quantity is well, much more desirable. Just ask anyone who has ever lived in their home while it’s listed. It’s torture, plain and simple. You never stop thinking, “I wonder if someone will want to show the house today? I probably shouldn’t fry that fish because the house will smell dreadful and I am sure the phone will ring and someone will have to see the house this minute. Should I strip the beds and do some spring cleaning today, it is Sunday so hopefully nobody will expect to get in at the last minute…” For anyone with kids, pets or a husband for that matter, this anxiety is compounded.
The agony of having my home on the market a couple of years ago is still fresh in my mind. In addition to having three dogs, Grady was 3 and Griffin was a newborn so I was a hormonal maniac. For those of you who know me, I am actually the messiest of the family so between keeping myself behaved and micromanaging every move made that created a crumb, I nearly drove my family insane. It’s humbling to have your home on the market and every Realtor should be required to do it every few years just to remind us what our clients go through. I only mention this because I want to assure you that we get it. We really do. Don’t be afraid to be human when you have your home on the market. Don’t be afraid to rely on your Broker to bail you out if you get stuck at work and your place is a wreck. We are in this together and remember we all have the same goal.
If you are considering selling your place, consider listing it now. You will have less competition and the market is still very strong. If you don’t have a relationship with a Realtor, give us a call. We would love the opportunity to share with you a bit more about who we are, how we work, and see if we are good fit.