By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Sellers are benefiting from sky-high prices of homes. Experts offer tips to get more for your home
Is it worthwhile right now to sell your home and downsize?
Area real estate agents say that the market is still in the seller’s favor, making it a good time to consider moving, especially if the next home is not as costly.
“As we have seen, we are experiencing one of the best sellers’ markets ever,” said William R. Galloway, real estate agent and owner of Century 21 Galloway Realty in Oswego. “This is an excellent opportunity to sell your home for the maximum value. There is still limited inventory which have helped to increase property values. With interest rates on the rise, it is wise to list and sell your property now before the market begins to slow.”
It appears the market has peaked for sellers, according to Faye L. Beckwith, real estate agent and owner of Freedom Real Estate in Hannibal. Her advice? Sell now.
“It doesn’t appear that the market is going to go up more,” Beckwith said. “Inventory is increasing. Days on the market is increasing and we are still getting multiple offers, but fewer than in the past.
“My concern for sellers is, I hope the buyers won’t dry up because of the increased interest rates,” Beckwith said.
In the past, she has seen rates as high as 18%. Although interest rates have risen in the past several months, they are by comparison still very reasonable. “But having them being so very low in the recent past, it’s hard for buyers. I think if they wait, the market will slow enough that they won’t have the number of buyers we’ve had in the past 18 months or so.”
Especially once the market loses momentum, sellers may need professional help and listing with www.realestate.com or www.cnyrealtor.com. Beckwith said that most buyers perusing these sites have already pre-approved their financing and are working with a real estate agent, both steps that make the transaction move faster. She added that buyers like these sites because they have a larger pool of homes to view and because they are accurate.
“They assure us that data is updated every 15 minutes,” Beckwith said. “The other sites frequently have wrong information.”
The likelihood of a bidding war is greatly increased when several buyers are interested in the same property, Beckwith said. “It’s a great time to be a seller. I’m in my 38th year. I’ve never seen a market like this and don’t expect to see one like this ever again. Jump on the bandwagon and go for it. The time has never been better for sellers.”
Still, she believes that to make the sale easier and the price higher, “look to a realtor who has experience and good training,” Beckwith said.
As summer wanes, it is still a good time to sell.
“Everything looks gorgeous with the greens and flowers,” Beckwith said. “There’s all the fixing up and landscaping people have done. It’s great this time of year.”
Sellers who do nothing to improve their homes usually receive less than their neighborhood’s sales prices. To get the very most for the home, sellers should consider upgrading the most important, expensive facets of their home, like the roof, furnace, hot water heater and any foundation or basement remediation work.
“Save any receipts to prove what you have had done,” Beckwith added.
While these basics should be covered, it is not vital to overhaul the entire home to bring it up to date.
“If your house isn’t a showplace, it’s still sellable in this market,” Beckwith said. “People are often concerned about selling ‘as is,’ as it may be dated, but the demand is there. It’s sellable.”
For sellers who want to upgrade their homes to get the very most for them, the kitchen and bathroom are the top areas, along with good curb appeal. Touches such as contemporary style, granite counters and clean lines predominate, along with low-maintenance landscaping, attract today’s buyers.
Staging the home is also important. Sellers should consider renting a storage unit for their extra things and remove family photos. This helps the home look larger and enables potential buyers to see their own family living there.
Homes should also receive a deep cleaning, especially to eliminate odors such as mustiness in the basement and pet odors in the carpets. Touching up small flaws such as dings in the woodwork and repainting the front door also make a home look well-maintained.