It is a simple fact that summer and spring are the most popular times for selling your home. The time frame satisfies the need of most residents to be settled by fall when the kids return to school, and the days get shorter.
But what happens if you need to move in the off-season, due to a job transfer or purchase of a new home. There are two factors to consider in this situation. The first is selling an empty home. The second is selling a home in the off-season.
A recent article in RISMedia’s Housecall (How to Sell a Vacant Home in the Off Season) offers tips on making this situation easier.
Selling a vacant house or condo:
- Keep up maintenance and repair – Although no one is around, surfaces need to be dusted and floors need to be mopped or vacuumed. Minor items, such as a leaky faucet or burned-out light bulb need to be fixed. Anything needing small repairs might turn a prospective buyer off. Hire someone to clean the home once a month.
- Make sure the home does not look vacant – Develop a plan. Pick up the mail on a regular basis and set a timer so some lights automatically turn on in the evening.
- Turn heat or air conditioning on at the appropriate times. Lack of heat could cause pipes to freeze. Lack of air conditioning could cause musty smells when it is time to show the unit. If you are not nearby, leave a key with a trusted friend or real estate broker to turn on heat or air conditioning at regular intervals.
- Stage the interior -When prospective buyers come, they need to see an interior that looks inviting. It helps them visualize themselves in the condo or house. An empty home is not welcoming. Place focal pieces in each room so that a client has a sense of how the condo will look if they lived there. A sofa with a lamp on a table may be enough. Flowers on a dining/kitchen table could also work.
Selling in the Off-Season
- Price to sell – Although fewer people may come looking in the off months, there are people who will come in the fall and winter. The wisest move is to price it to sell. A hot market will result in selling the condo at its market or list price. In the more sluggish months, price lower in the early fall instead of waiting a few months to lower the price, especially if you are already carrying the mortgage on your new home.
- Sweeten the offer – Does the washing machine look old? Offer to replace it for the buyer. Do the same with other major appliances. Does a rug in the bedroom look worn? Offer to replace it. Or you could wait for the seller to make a suggestion. Consider the offers, and it could result in a sale.