Welcome to the Seasonal Selling Series! Over the next year, we will post a blog at the beginning of each new season, detailing some differences when it comes to selling your home. For this first edition, we will focus on elements of fall selling and how it differentiates from other seasons.
Indoors Become More Important
As the weather gets colder, potential buyers tend to focus more on the inside aspects of a home. The changing seasons are on their mind and they are thinking about how your home will function for their family when they can’t be outside. Highlight features of your home that will be important in the colder months, like finished basements where kids can play or fireplaces for warmth and family time.
Make sure your heating systems are fully functioning. Most people don’t know there is something wrong with their heating unit until they need it. The last thing you want to do is have your heating system falter during a showing. Turn it on early and have it inspected for any possible damage.
Keep as many lights on as possible. As the days get shorter and darker, the light inside your house will be more important. Buyers tend to think dark rooms are hiding problems so negate that thought by illuminating every nook and cranny in your home.
Curb Appeal Still Matters
Even though the inside features of a home are more important to buyers during the fall, the outside appearance of your home is still part of the whole package. Buyers don’t want the impression that taking care of the property is difficult or time consuming and by keeping the yard looking nice, it gives them the assumption that lawn care is quick and easy.
Don’t obsess over trying to make your home look as colorful and lush as it was in the spring. Having fully-bloomed, bright flowers isn’t as important as making the yard look well tended. Keep the grass trimmed, rake the leaves and prune dead flowers.
Seasonal décor is recommended, but don’t go overboard. Buyers don’t want to walk through a maze of towering blow-up ghosts and witches, but a few pumpkins here and there would be a nice added touch.
Extend Your Search
In the fall, the market slows down and there are less traditional buyers. Because of this, you need to widen your search to different demographics. Due to the drop in the market, businesses tend to relocate their employees in the fall months. Reach out to relocation specialists or major employers in the area for leads on incoming employees.
Also, while families are more prone to buying houses in the spring and summer before school starts, millennials and empty-nesters take advantage of the slower market to do their home searching. Take this opportunity to market your home to them, whether that be for empty nesters and their future grandkids when they come to visit for the weekend or millennial couples looking for a space to grow a family.
Flexibility Is Key
Now that school is back in full swing, so are those after-school activities. When it comes to scheduling showings, meetings and appointments, it could be difficult to juggle schedules. It is important to be flexible and patient, understanding that fast closings won’t be easy.
Keep in mind that scheduling conflicts won’t just be an issue for you or the buyer, it could also be a problem with the buyer’s and seller’s agents as well.
Know When to Pull Back
The closer the fall season gets to the holidays, the fewer people will be looking for homes. If it hits Thanksgiving, consider pulling your home off the market and waiting to re-list it until January. With major holidays clustered together in a short amount of time, it can be difficult to find buyers between Thanksgiving and the new year.
Putting your house on the market in the late fall can cause negative perceptions about your home when the buyers start looking again January. Potential buyers will see that your house has been on the market for a few months and they will wonder why. They might think that there is something wrong with the house or they might use the amount of time on the market as a bargaining tool for a better price. Consider this before listing your home at the end of the fall season.
Pros of Selling in Fall
There are two major pros to selling your home in the fall. The first is this season can bring out more serious buyers. If you hit the tail end of summer and beginning of fall, you’ll find some buyers desperate to get into a new house before school starts. For mid to late fall, you’ll encounter buyers who want to be settled before the holidays pick up. These goals drive buyers to purchase houses and it’s all to your advantage as the seller.
Secondly, there is less competition as the market slows down. Although you might think this is a bad thing because that means less offers, it’s actually better for a different reason. The fact is, not only are there less buyers in the fall, but there are also less sellers. You can use this as a bargaining tool to close before the end of the year. Buyers won’t have a lot of options and they won’t want to extend their search to another year, especially if they’ve already spent a considerable amount of time looking. Use this to your benefit when discussing compromises and offers with buyers.
Our Seasonal Selling Series returns Monday, December 24th with our winter edition.