I think we’ll wait ’til spring…
By Kathy Schmidt, Broker/Owner, Schmidt Realty Group Inc.
This is a comment we often hear from clients this time of year. It’s understandable. Moving in the middle of winter might not be the most fun you’ve ever had, but waiting ‘till spring could mean you’re trying to move in the busiest market of the year. Because most sellers are also buyers it’s important to think of the impact the spring market will have on both of your transactions. The spring market can be a lot more competetive for you as a potential purchaser! Even as a seller, you’ll be competing with a lot of other people who’ve waited to sell ‘till the snow’s gone, so the market might not be 100% in your favour.
Here are 3 reasons you might want to consider listing sooner rather than later….
- “Life” is happening! You can’t always control when you need to move. Maybe it’s a job transfer or career opportunity you can’t pass up! Maybe you suddenly have a need for a bungalow because your two-storey doesn’t work due to a health issue. Or perhaps you’ve got an elderly parent who all of a sudden can’t cope living on their own and you’ve decided to share a house to support them. Or you may have just found out you’re having twins lol! The bottom line is there’s no ideal time to move but there may be a very important reason that the time needs to be now for your family.
- You have plans to start a new job or a new business and you’ll need to move to make it happen! When qualifying for a mortgage, you want to be solidly employed. Banks don’t generally love lending to new businesses. You might think that waiting ‘till you “launch” is the right thing to do, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You’re better off to move well ahead of time to secure your mortgage. By the way, this strategy applies to going back to school.
- You want a different lifestyle. Where you live is more than a financial investment. It’s also an emotional one. What’s it worth to you to wake up and love where you live? To be able to walk to work perhaps, or be closer to the airport because you’re a frequent traveller. How long do you want to wait to improve your lifestyle? For many of us, Covid has changed how we live and work. Working from home might continue well past the pandemic. Having your office at the dining room table won’t cut it for the long haul.
If you decide to list in January to beat the rush, there are some important things you can do to gain an advantage over the competition:
- Prep! Prep! Prep!
Everyone knows the saying “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” Nowhere is that more true than in real estate! The first impression these days is online. Your home has to shine in the photos, so don’t take shortcuts getting ready. When it comes to selling, you can never over-prepare! Decluttering is vital in any season, but never more so than in the fall and winter months. Buyers won’t be spending much time exploring your backyard garden at this time of year. Days are shorter, so they’ll often be viewing your home after the sun goes down. Plus, buyers and agents are wearing bulky coats as they wander through. Your property needs to feel as large and spacious as possible. There is no room for clutter!
- Provide peace of mind!
Consider going the extra mile to give buyers a sense of security about buying your home. Simple things like having your furnace and duct work cleaned shows your attention to ongoing maintenance. If you have a gas fireplace or appliance, have them checked at the same time. And make sure to clean the glass in the fireplace while the service tech is there. Replace weather stripping on your doors to eliminate drafts, and make sure windows seal well. Keep a copy of the receipts for any work like this so you can provide it to your REALTOR® when you go on the market. All these things will give buyers peace of mind, and they’ll be more likely to give you an offer! And don’t forget about Covid precautions. Leaving hand sanitizer and a few extra disposable masks by your front door tells people you’re interested in keeping them safe as well as asking them to protect your home.
- Put out the Welcome Mat
Always consider buyers as your guests! Put out the welcome mat for them… literally, a new mat is a great idea! Make sure the walks are shoveled, and sand them if it’s icy. Have the lights on for them so they step into a welcoming atmosphere. Make sure the furnace is set to a comfortable temperature … the more comfortable you make your house the longer buyers are likely to stay, and that’s a good thing! We want them to “try on the house” so they can think about what it might be like if they moved in! Anything you can do to have your home feel warm, welcoming and memorable is worth the extra effort. We’ve all had the experience of going to someone’s home and getting the feeling they’ve gone out of their way to set the stage for a beautiful evening. Leave the lights on throughout your home when you leave. If you have a gas fireplace, leave it on low or consider keeping some white twinkly lights out past the holidays. A bowl of wrapped chocolates like Lindt or Ferraro Roche is always nice. A bowl of granola bars with a note offering them a “pick me up” as they’re out house-hunting would be a nice way to surprise them with kindness. Buyers will remember you as they enjoy a treat on their way home.
Still think that waiting ‘till April to list is best for you? It might be! But before you make that important decision, chat with a trusted advisor at Schmidt Realty Group. We’ll help you figure out the best timing for you and your family!