Okay, Christmas Day is over, and the holiday season is still on! Parties are still being planned, Families are still visiting and telling tales that NO one wants to hear and (whether you believe it or not) there are some serious lookers here wanting to see what’s out there in terms of homes and land. Yep, there are!
This has been a very unusual year for people deciding that they should take their homes off the market for the winter. Many want my opinion and once they’ve heard it, they choose not to believe it. Why is that exactly? I hate to have to say this myself, but seriously, I’m the real estate expert here! I’ve been doing this for a while now, and there are several scenarios of what MAY happen, but generally, here’s what happens…the conversation goes something like this:
THEM: “We have decided to take our house off the market for the winter. We don’t want the listing to get stale, and would prefer to start the “Days on the Market” count over.”
ME: “I understand your concern over having the listing get stale. We do have several properties that have been on the market for a long time. However, your home listing will have to be off the market for 6 months to start the Days on Market count over. You’ll miss the early spring buyers if you do that.”
THEM: “Wow, I didn’t realize it had to be off the market for so long. Why is that?”
ME: “It’s a new ruling of our MLS, so there’s no getting around it. I would heartily recommend that you not take your home off the market for the winter. Most realtors will recognize it as the same listing next spring anyway, and there are buyers that come up in the winter to look at homes. Those buyers aren’t window-shoppers…they’re actual buyers who understand that winter is THE time to buy. In addition, since many people do exactly what you’re talking about doing, there can be a lack of good properties to show. If your home isn’t on the market, it won’t get shown.”
THEM: “Well, we think there aren’t enough people up there looking at property, so we’re going to take it off anyway. If you get someone that wants to see it, you can always go ahead and show it.”
ME: “85% of the sales here are co-brokered, meaning that 85% of the sales that occur are NOT sold by the listing agent. They’re sold by other realtors showing that property, so if that’s true (and it IS), brokers that are looking for properties to show during the winter months aren’t necessarily going to remember your home to ask about. They search the MLS to come up with properties to show. That’s why it’s important to be listed.”
THEM: “Well, we still think there aren’t enough people up there looking at property, so we’re going to take it off anyway.”
And there you have it. I’ve just answered their questions and explained what really happens during the winter months, when there isn’t very much to show. I’ve been on both sides of the table with buyers and sellers during the winter. My advice to you if you’re trying to sell your property is to:
A – Price your property really well. Like it or not, price is still king, and if you’re priced right, you’ll be going to the closing table a lot sooner than if you don’t price right.
B – Keep it clean! Keep the exterior and interior ship-shape. Even though you have to store outdoor furniture cushions in your spare bedroom and the heat is turned down to 55 degrees, take the time to get someone to go take care of cobwebs and fallen leaves.
C – Be ready to respond to questions. People want to know about Home Owner Assns., roof age and all kinds of things that you may not have discussed with your Realtor. If your Realtor doesn’t know the answer, she’ll be calling you!
And finally, if you’re on the market now, be candid with your Realtor, and ask her to be candid with you. Make the sensible choice for you, but don’t think your Realtor just wants to keep your listing. One of the things your Realtor is bound to do for you is to use care, skill and diligence in all things regarding your listing. She’s also bound to do what you tell her to. Just think about what she tells you. Take some time and think. She’s really trying to make sure she’s doing the best job she can for you!