In a recent survey of home sellers by Qualtrics, 87% of respondents said they were concerned their home won’t sell because of the pandemic and resulting economic recession. Of the respondents, 51% said they are “seriously worried.” That concern seems reasonable considering the current condition of the economy. The data, however, is showing that home purchasers are still very active despite the disruptions American families have experienced this year.
The latest Existing Home Sales Report published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that 340,000 single-family homes sold in this country last month. NAR’s most recent Pending Sales Report (homes going into contract) surpassed last month’s number by over 44%, which far exceeded analysts’ projections of 15%. ShowingTime reported that appointments to see homes (both virtually and in-person) have increased in every region of the country and are up 21.4% nationwide over the same time last year.
While buyer activity is surging, the number of listings has fallen to an all-time low. Zelman Associates, in their latest residential real estate report, revealed that housing inventory as a percentage of households has fallen to 1.2%, which is half of the long-term average and lower than any other time in our history.
Bidding Wars Heating Up Again
With buyer demand growing and the supply of available homes shrinking, purchasers are again finding themselves needing to outbid other buyers. NAR, in a recent blog post, revealed:
“On average, there were about three offers on a home that closed in May, up from just about two in April 2020 and in May 2019 (2.3 offers).”
Bidding wars guarantee houses sell quickly at a price near or even slightly over the listing price.
Fully preparing your home for sale can make a considerable difference in the time it takes to sell it. You can help eliminate buyer objections before they arise by making necessary repairs and improvements, some of which are suggested below.
- Spruce up your garden and lawn; trim shrubbery and replace dead plants
- Yard and patio should be neat; outdoor furniture should be clean and in good shape
- Clean or paint your front door – remember first impressions last the longest!
- Manicure your front yard; make sure your driveway and entryway are free of clutter
- Check that house numbers, mailbox, and exterior lighting are all in good condition
- Touch up with fresh paint as needed
- Inspect chimney for cracks or earthquake damage
- Repair loose trim, drain pipes, and fencing
- Clean stains and window screens
- Apply fresh paint as needed… think about brightening your interiors with neutral-toned paint
- Clean carpets
- Replace burnt out light bulbs
- Clean the fireplace and remove smoke stains from the wall and mantle
- Clean window coverings
- Replace damaged window blinds
- Sinks, appliances, and counter tops should sparkle; remove any clutter
- Clean the oven, range, and other appliances
- Clean tile and grout; replace if necessary
- Clean mirrors, glass, chrome, and porcelain surfaces
- Replace shower curtain if necessary
- Fix any faucet drips or leaks
- Clean grout and caulking; replace if necessary
- Doors and drawers should open and close easily
- Remove clutter; tidy up shelves and racks
- Shoes and clothes should be neatly arranged
- Remove clutter and tidy up the shelves
- Clean the floor
- Check the basics around the house. It takes just a minute to check all doors, windows and cabinets to make sure they don’t stick, squeak or are too loose
- Clean your furnace and water heater so buyers know they are looking at a house that has been well maintained
If you’re thinking of selling, don’t be concerned about putting your house on the market right now. There’s no better time to sell an item than when demand for it is high and supply is low. It is exactly at that time when you will negotiate your best possible deal.