Real estate has its ups and downs, and you’ll have an easier time selling your home for a competitive price if you list it during a seller’s market. This refers to an economic setting in which sellers have more bargaining power than the buyers.
In New Jersey, the market is very much in the seller’s court, which is great if you’re looking for a quick closing. According to Svetlana Shkolnikova of NorthJersey.com, “A low housing inventory coupled with high demand will spark bidding wars for houses in the entry- to middle-level home sectors… continuing a years-long trend in the residential real estate market.”
Statistics show that homes are priced much higher than usual for this time of year, and the competition is fierce for middle-range home buyers. “If you’re a buyer in the $600,000 to $900,000 range, it’s very competitive,” realtor Diane Russell told Shkolnikova. “They’re going through multiple rounds of putting in offers.”
Based on the current market, it wouldn’t be surprising if your Jersey home sold quickly all on its own. However, you never know when the market is going to shift or if any circumstances surrounding your home will make it a difficult sell. Russell also mentioned that it’s more difficult to sell your house if you’re planning on living in it while it’s on the market.
That doesn’t mean a quick home sale is out of your reach, however. There are a few tried and true tactics you can use to sell your Jersey home quickly and for a good price.
Make Repairs and Updates
When you accept an offer on your house, the homebuyer will pay for a general home inspection to ensure the property is in acceptable condition for the price. If you have multiple items flagged during the inspection, it will significantly slow down the home sale and may result in the buyer backing out altogether.
You can speed things up by having major repairs made to begin with. Here are a few items that often need to be repaired before buyers walk through.
Pool Repairs: A pristine swimming pool looks like heaven to homebuyers, but a pool that has fallen into disrepair looks expensive and time-consuming. Contact a swimming pool contractor in New Jersey to make necessary repairs on your pool before you list your property. Once the pool is in tip-top shape, this feature could be what seals that deal.
Siding Updates: Savvy homebuyers will check out the siding before making an offer on a house. If they can see obvious signs of wear, they’ll run the other way; it’s a very expensive fix, after all. The same goes for any of your outbuildings. Consider PBR Panel for your shed and James Hardie fiber-cement siding for your house.
Roof Repairs or Replacement: The roof is just as important to buyers (if not more) than your siding. A leaky roof can mean thousands of dollars in repairs, and no homebuyer wants to deal with that.
HVAC Cleaning and/or Repair: The HVAC system is another big-ticket item that concerns many buyers. Reach out to HVAC services in your area for an inspection and repairs. If you can present an inspection bill from an HVAC contractor certifying that it’s in good shape, you’ll close the deal quicker.
New Windows: Buyers also see high value in new or well-maintained windows. Not only do they look better, but they also keep your home properly insulated from the outdoor elements. If you have a few old windows, contact a window installation service in North Hanover, NJ or another nearby city to make updates.
Landscaping and Curb Appeal: The exterior is the first thing buyers will see when walking up to the house. Make the first impression count. Consider painting the exterior or the front door. Clean up the yard and plant flora and fauna. Small updates to the home’s exterior can win over buyers right away.
Price It Right
The first rule of real estate is that location will always win out when it comes to buyer preferences. The second rule is that homes that are priced right will sell quickly.
The best method is to look at comparable homes in the area. Look for homes in your neighborhood that have sold in the last few months. Compare homes of similar sizes, those with the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and those in similar condition to your home.
There are websites that offer estimated home prices based on an automated valuation model (AVM), which considers the location, style, size, quality and market conditions. However, Chandler Crouch, a realtor in Texas, told the National Association of Realtors that it’s best to listen to the advice of a human realtor and not that of an AVM.
“No one has actually put eyes on your house, so an AVM can’t really give you an accurate price,” Crouch says.
She also recommends factoring in upgrades that you’ve made in the past and pricing it so that web browsers are likely to see it. “Home buyers typically fill out a web form that has a minimum price and maximum price,” says Crouch. “If you’re a dollar outside of that range it is going to be like your house didn’t exist—they’ll never see it.” So rather than pricing a home at $600,000, price it at $599,999, so that buyers in a lower price range will still see it.
Ultimately, Crouch recommends leaving a little negotiation room when pricing your house, as the buyers will likely try to come in at a lower price. If you want to get at least $625,000 out of your house, post it for $15,000-$20,000 more so that you have room for negotiation.
Stage the Property
Many home sellers discount the value of property staging because it costs a couple of thousand to do it. However, research from the Real Estate Staging Association revealed that homes that were staged sold an average of 73 percent faster than those that weren’t.
Staging is done by professionals who know how to show the home in its best possible light. It helps buyers envision many different uses of a space while still leaving it open for their own interpretation.
Be Smart with Listings
The way you list a property is also crucial. It not only impacts the audience you reach, but it also increases your likelihood of getting showings. Here are a few things you should do when listing your property.
Take Quality Photos: Most buyers search online for listings before they view a property, so entice them with high-quality photos. Consider hiring a professional photographer, or at least use a real camera. Take photos during the day when the lighting is best to show off the most appealing parts of the property.
Describe the Property and Neighborhood: Give ample information about the property’s strengths and the neighborhood. People want as much information as possible, and descriptive language can often sell a property just as well as great photos.
Post on All Available Online Portals: Because most buyers search online for listings, put your listings in front of as many people as possible. List with a realtor who has access to all postings in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). You should also use social media. “We sell as many homes off Facebook as we do off the MLS,” Michael Mahon, an Ohio realtor, told USNews.
In today’s New Jersey real estate market, every improvement you make to your home will speed up the sale. Once you’ve made the right strides, just be available for showings, and your home should sell itself.