Home Beat – New Year, New Home
It’s Spring, which means for-sale signs are popping up around the Merrimack Valley. The spring housing market has returned, bringing a new wave of homebuyers who are looking for opportunities in the area. Whether you are planning to downsize or selling your home to escape the cold winters of New England, there are a few common mistakes to avoid.
Massachusetts enjoyed persistent momentum in the real estate market throughout 2019. Generally, real estate markets tend to slow down in the fall and winter, but the commonwealth market thrived. Real estate experts are forecasting another active year in 2020. Prospective home sellers are taking advantage of market conditions to maximize their equity. The current high demand for homes is due to an influx of buyers and an ongoing two-year drought in housing inventory. If, therefore, sellers price their homes properly, they can likely generate multiple offers, which can lead to a bidding competition that increases the sale price of their property. If you decide to sell, here are some easy tips:
The Three Rules of selling: price, location, condition. The two most powerful tools a seller wields are the condition and listing price of the home, since you can’t do anything about the location.
Fix the little things first. If you watch a lot of HGTV, you might think that your house needs an extra bathroom, new floors or major renovations before you put it on the market. According to Keller Williams Merrimack Valley real estate agent and 2018 Gold Top Producer Matt Swierk, that may not be the case. “When I am walking through a seller’s home for the first time, I am looking from the eyes of buyer,” he says. “I actively look for easy fixes that can ensure a higher salability of a home. At times, as little as $50 can make a tremendous impact.” Examples of small fixes include painting the walls and replacing doorknobs, cabinet handles and toilet seats.
Depersonalize and declutter. You might adore your family photos of Aruba, but that doesn’t mean prospective buyers will. If you decide to sell your home, it is important to remove personal items from sight because they can disrupt a potential buyer’s vision of what their life in your house will look like. Packing your things away can be emotional, but the decluttered extra space and neutral environment will go a long way with buyers.
There is such a thing as too much space. Although decluttering is beneficial, completely stripping your home of furniture can be a huge misstep. According to National Association of Realtors (NAR) statistics, 83% of buyers’ agents believe a well-staged home can increase a buyer’s ability to imagine it as their future home. There are staging companies that can come into your home and help you plan the best way.
Find the right agent. NAR statistics show that the average for-sale-by-owner home (no agent) sold for around $200,000 in 2017, while the national agent-assisted average was approximately $265,000. “As a real estate agent and investor myself,” Swierk says, “I walk into hundreds of properties every year. Using an agent allows you to have a consultant that understands current trends, knows about competing properties, and can guide you to make choices that protect the equity that you have built in your property.” If you are thinking about hiring an agent, grabbing a coffee together is an easy and noncommittal way to decide if the person is someone you would like to work with.