Making the Most of a Sellers Market.
Merrimack Valley home sellers can’t help but smile as lines of prospective buyers pile in front of their for-sale signs. It’s no secret that we are experiencing historical shifts in the real estate market. During this period, homeowners hold remarkable leverage, but there are still numerous factors that can impact prospective sellers.
Currently, many sellers are receiving dozens of offers within the first few days of listing their home, but this is still dependent on certain factors. Homeowners whose asking price is unrealistic may experience significantly less traction than sellers who have used more conventional metrics to price their homes. Matt Swierk of Legacy Star with Keller Williams Merrimack Valley makes clear the dangers of overpricing, saying, “My sellers all want to sell their homes for the most money possible, but listing the price higher is actually counterproductive. Generally, if you list at a fair market value, you’ll generate competing offers, and that competition will ensure a better price for a home seller along with better terms.”
The terms Swierk’s talking about embody an essential element for the modern-day home seller to consider. Terms in a contract can range from a buyer waiving their home inspection contingency to a buyer depositing hundreds of thousands of dollars as a nonrefundable deposit.
Home sellers enjoy a significant advantage, because many homebuyers, in addition to offering well above asking price, are also waiving contingencies that would allow them to easily walk away from the deal during specific periods of the transaction. Some sellers are sacrificing the highest monetary offer in exchange for one that has more attractive terms, such as no home inspection contingency or no appraisal contingency. Ultimately, this offers more closure for a seller because there will be less room for negotiation from the buyers through the duration of the transaction.
Many homebuyers are looking for turnkey properties — move-in-ready homes. Homeowners benefit from having their big ticket items and major systems in good shape. Some of these include roofs, heating systems, siding and septic systems. Homebuyers may have more room for negotiation if there is something like an obvious need for a new roof, which could easily cost them thousands of dollars after purchasing the property.
Homeowners shouldn’t necessarily invest in costly repairs and replacements of their big systems for the sake of selling their property. It is important for a prospective home seller to consult with a real estate professional to ensure that a big-ticket item is worth replacing to maximize their home’s value. “Due to the high demand,” Swierk says, “I would advise many sellers to hold off on any major overhauls on systems. They’re better off keeping that money in their pockets to help them purchase their next home.”
Cosmetic touch-ups consist of more manageable projects that significantly boost the curb appeal of a home. Grab some paint and a roller and get ready to transform that ugly beige wall into a light French-gray masterpiece. Rip out that old carpet and replace it with vinyl planks. Homeowners can even do something as simple as painting or replacing their front door to help aid the overall look of the home. These smaller projects can go a long way and may cost significantly less than renovating the major systems.
According to Vincent Forzese, broker owner of Realty One Group Nest, “It’s very important for a seller to reach out to a licensed real estate professional at least one month before listing their home.” And he adds: “Many sellers are underestimating how quickly homes are selling. Along with the usual decluttering recommendations, creating a game plan of where you’re going to stay is essential. It is not always possible to sell and buy at the same time in this market.”
We are experiencing one of the strongest seller markets in American history, but the question remains: Where are you going next? That question looms over many potential sellers.