Summer is traditionally the hottest season for buying and selling a home. In fact, 60% of America's moves take place in the summer. Between the warm weather, the fast approaching new school year and recently received tax returns, buyers are on the hunt. The advantage for sellers is the opportunity to showcase their homes at their very best, tempting buyers with the summer curb appeal of beautiful flowers and green grass as well as inviting backyards and outdoor spaces.
If you're trying, but haven't sold or bought your property yet, I wanted to share my four essential tips for sellers and buyers to help seal the deal before the summer selling season is over.
If You Are Hoping to SELL This Summer:
GET THE PRICE RIGHT! - It's time to reexamine the comps in the neighborhood. Things are changing rapidly and locally, so it's time to look at what's selling and what is just sitting on the market.
- Use comps from the last 60 days
- Include foreclosures - the bank will
- Look at inventory - is it shrinking or growing? You might be pleasantly surprised.
RETHINK PHOTOS OF YOUR HOME - Let's face it - people judge a book by its cover. If your home has sub-par photos and the house isn't being represented in the best way possible online, it might be keeping people from attending your open house. So many people house hunt on their mobile phones via apps like Trulia, so if your images aren't great, they might not even get out of the car.
- If your house has been sitting on the market since last winter, make sure your home isn't covered in snow in the photos. That would be a dead giveaway that your home has been sitting on the market for a long time.
- SAVE IT, STORE IT, SELL IT, CHUCK IT! - Clutter kills deals. Period. When it comes to selling your home, less is more. Removing clutter and creating more (or the concept of more) space is key. Living space is an extremely precious commodity nowadays, so having more space and a sense of expansiveness in your home makes it seem luxurious to prospective buyers.
- YOU ARE SELLING YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, NOT JUST YOUR HOUSE - Live in a up-and-coming enclave that has tons of great small parks for families? No traffic issues in your neighborhood? Best schools for miles? Use these community features to your home-selling benefit. Buyers want to know these things and may not fund them out on their own. Help them see the bigger picture and your house might look even sweeter to them. Also, if you have made any "green" or energy saving upgrades, disclose them! That will sweeten the deal on your home.
4 Tips If You're Still Looking To BUY This Summer:
- GET YOUR FINANCES IN ORDER - Determine what you can afford and get pre-qualified. Whatever the bank will loan you, take 20% less.
- KNOW HOW TO SHOP IN YOUR PRICE RANGE - Don't waste time looking at homes you can't afford. Determine if the market is sluggish or if it's on a slight upswing. If it's sluggish, shop 20% above your target price. If it's picking up some steam, shop at your target price.
- SAVE TIME AND START SHOPPING ONLINE - Learn what is really out there by looking on Trulia and see what your money will buy you. And adjust your expectations accordingly - If you're shopping for your starter home this summer, you're not going to be moving into the shiniest palace on the best block
- FORGET FORECLOSURES AND SHORT SALES - The clock is ticking. If you are looking for a summer buy, you'd be lucky to move before Thanksgiving. Short sales are anything but short. They sometimes take up to 6 months, and even then, they may not go through. Foreclosures often have lots of red tape with the bank, long escrows and work to be done before you can move in.
Trulia's Michael CorbettMichael Corbett is Trulia's real estate and lifestyle expert. He is also the host of EXTRA's Mansions and Millionaires on NBC. In addition to his regular segments on ABC's The View and Fox News, he is a national bestselling author with three critically acclaimed real estate books: Find It, Fix It, FLIP IT!; Ready, Set, SOLD! and Before You BUY! His years of experience in buying, renovating, and selling homes have made him a sought-after nationally recognized real estate expert.