I read an article a long time ago that said the Top 3 Most Stressful things in life are Death, Divorce, and Moving. There is absolutely no doubt that Death is terrible, Divorce is traumatizing, and Moving is really, really hard. Like most things, we are resilient human beings and we push through continuing to make lemonade out of lemons.
I love it when people call me and tell me they want to move, that they’ve outgrown their house and they’re ready for the next step, or perhaps they’re ready to downsize. Whatever the next phase of their lives may be, it’s typically the same conversation. “We don’t want to sell it until we figure out where we’re going to go”.
Obviously, we’re taught our whole lives to have a Plan B. Leaving yourself homeless is a pretty reckless thing to do so what would we do if the house sold quickly and we didn’t have anywhere to go?
Here’s two reasons why this process sounds like an excellent plan at first, but doesn’t usually work in the world of Real Estate.
Reason 1: Absorption Rates
If you’re looking to hire an agent to sell your home, ask them about the Absorption Rates specific to your town and in the price range in which you’ll be selling. This is a huge factor that will play into how much an agent spends marketing your home and when they roll out that plan. It should also tell you about when you can expect to start looking for your future home. Absorption Rates by definition are an average estimate of how long it takes for your property to go from listed to contract to sold. We pull these statistics using the data from the last 6-months. To make it easy to explain, say your home is listed at $475,000. Currently there are 6 active properties listed between $475 and $500K (your competition). Over the last 6-months, 2 properties in that price range sold and 1 of them went under contract. This brings the Average Months of Inventory to 12. That’s one year. It’s just the average, so you don’t have to consider it a rule, but it should definitely be considered when it comes to planning your next steps.
Reason 2: Heartbreak
Home selling and buying are emotional. As a buyer, you have to walk into a home and be able to visualize yourself there. You want to be able to picture your kids playing tag in the back yard, posing for prom pictures on the front porch, and playing basketball in the driveway. When I take out buyers they know the second they walk into a house if its going to work for them and for their lives and lifestyle. If we head out looking too soon and your find a house you love before yours is even listed, it often leads to disappointment. The main cause of Reason 2? See Reason 1.
The Big What-If
So, what-if your house sells in a week? What if, just by chance, the first people that see it on the first day it’s listed, write an offer? What if the inspections all check-out, appraisal goes through, and you are cleared to close in 30-days? And what if, because of all of this, you have NO idea what’s out there to buy? Well, here’s why you hired an agent. Agents have connections and access to a ton of information that sellers don’t. We network with other agents and brokers. We know that there might be a house that is vacant that has been on the market for almost a year and the sellers would love to rent it. We know of plenty of short-term rentals that we can make work for you. We also know great mortgage reps that can get your own loan approved quickly and jump-start the process. This is what we DO. Unfortunately, we don’t get to do it often because the What-If scenario is rare. However, the What-If scenario is FAR from a bad thing! It’s every seller’s (and Realtor’s) dream!
If you’re thinking of selling, you should focus on just that piece of the process. Invite an agent to do a Market Analysis on your home (I offer them free! Just click here!) and ask them about things you should do to the house that would ensure getting top dollar when it sells. Perhaps it involves updating an entire bathroom, but most of the time it’s smaller things like painting, decluttering, and moving furniture to maximize space and aesthetic appeal. Once your agent has researched the comparable properties and you have agreed on a list price, the ball is set in motion. Your agent should have an extensive marketing plan to roll out during the length of your listing contract and should share that plan with you. Paying close attention to the ever changing factors such as new competitive listings, changes in the market, etc., your agent should be most concerned with positioning your house front and center. Work together to make the process smooth and as easy as possible. After all, it’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do in your life. Lean on the professional to get you through! Realtors are in this business because we love it. Remember that you’re on the team.