This week, we've spent some time at every office meeting, going over our list of active listings. It looks like a list done in a poor market, in the dead of winter. There aren't enough new listings, not enough listings in towns and neighborhoods where we are getting calls, not enough listings in certain price ranges, and way too many listings with a "story" of some kind attached to them. The stories can range from something badly wrong with the house, a bad location, a short sale with bank approval needed and seemingly withheld for no reason, or the most popular--overpriced. We have taken listings all over the place, as agents tend to do when listings are thin on the ground, and we've let sellers dictate prices.
Now we are entering the traditional time for the spring market, when typical buyers look for homes on which they can go into contract in the spring, and move into in the summer. We simply don't have the inventory to show all the buyers stacked up (waiting for the snow to stop) what they want to see. Some sellers are paralyzed by weather, and this is somewhere we can all empathize. This is particularly true of older owners, who may be fearful of trying to clear their walkways and driveways for showings. It also tends to be true of owners who are out of town, as it can be harder, and more expensive, for them to keep pathways clear. In some cases, people may feel that their houses won't show as well with muddy floors, or ice dams (true). It may be hard to get necessary repairs made in cold and snowy weather.
All of this needs to be weighed against the need to give buyers what they want, when they want it. Suppose you were selling Christmas candy, but thought that your product would look or taste more attractive in January? Or you grew flowers for Valentine's Day, but got them ready in March? It behooves sellers to get their homes prepared for sale right away, and to anticipate that all kinds of issues can slow that process down. It's not so easy to call a repair or landscaping service on the first nice day, and go right to the top of the list. Even if you have to go back and do some cleanup work in the springtime, it's still better to get the bulk of the work done now. Also, it's important to remember that your chances of selling are greater when the supply of available properties is smaller. We have more than forty relocation buyers from other places, just waiting for homes they can view. Act now! Get your homes ready, and get a jump on the spring market! Buyers are waiting!