February’s cold weather lends itself to warm blankets on the sofa, binge watching a new series, or starting a new book. If you are buying or selling a home this year, February is also a great time to begin thinking about your next steps.
Just like the weather, the market tends to cool over the holiday months, and begins to warm with the temperatures. By April, there are many more homes for sale, meaning more competition on either side of a home sale.
Most home buyers start their search 6-18 months before they take action. This means online searching, going to open houses, and driving through neighborhoods, all to help you determine the characteristics of the home you hope to find, when the time is right. If you have had a consultation with a realtor and/or a lender, then you are well on your way. At this point, it is important to stay on track with your financial goals to facilitate your purchase.
If you are selling your existing home, maximizing your profits is likely your top priority. You need a negotiator in your corner - a capable realtor that is diligently working towards your goals with you.
The best outcomes result from a strategic approach that maximizes each factor in a sale: location, condition, and price. Your location is outside of anyone’s control, so the value of your home is at least partly fixed.
Staging to Sell and Value
Condition is where you, the seller, can have the most impact. Some items to consider with regard to staging your home:
- Thoroughly deep clean the entire home, including ceiling fans, baseboards, oven, and closets.
- Fix any knicks, cracks, or holes in the walls. Repaint, if needed, with neutral colors only, such as beige, cream, or light gray.
- Take down all personal photos and any personal items.
- Remove all valuables, including medications and jewelry. Password protect any electronics in the home. Don’t leave anything of value in plain sight.
- Make sure all light bulbs are working and place the highest wattage bulbs you can safely place in each lighting fixture. Add lamps to any room without adequate lighting.
- Declutter, declutter, declutter. Your home should no longer look like a home. It should look like a hotel or model home. At this point, it is no longer your home. It is the future buyer’s home.
Finally, price your home based upon the competitive market. Look at your home through a buyer’s eyes. What would you be willing to pay for your home if you were buying it today? Your realtor will be able to give you a price range based on homes like yours that have recently sold. Having done all of these things, your realtor can reach the largest pool of potential buyers, so your home will sell quickly and with the best terms.
Focus on the Search for a New Place
When looking at what you want to buy, your search will vary, depending on whether you are upsizing, downsizing, or moving to a different part of the city, or even out of state. After your initial consultation with your realtor, get set up to receive automatic emails based on your desired search criteria.
When that (MLS) email comes, check it daily. Mark properties “interested” for those you want to see, “maybe” for properties you want more time to think about, and “not interested” for ones you definitely don’t like.
If there is something you love and want to see as soon as possible, connect with your realtor right away so a showing can be set up. In a normal market, plan to provide 24-48 hours notice prior to a showing, as it’s rare to be able to see a house or condo the same day. Properties usually are available to be seen Monday - Friday between 9 am - 7 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 11 am - 6 pm. Sometimes sellers will allow showings outside of those hours but it is up to the individual seller.
In a hot market, properties can sell as quickly as one day. Your realtor will know if your price range, terms, and location require more immediate showings so you don’t miss out on those properties. Clear communication is essential so your expectations are met during your home search.
Keep reviewing the MLS emails. Your agent is also networking to find out about properties coming available that also meet your criteria. When you are able to see these properties early, you can get in front of the masses, which is critical in a hot market like Nashville.
This year, help your Valentine get sweet on a new home! Now you have the tools to win their heart for it.
Emily Benedict ([email protected]) is a Realtor working with buyers, sellers, investors, and developers throughout Middle Tennessee.
Other articles by Emily include Buying a Home in 2019!