We're back for another installment of 'Ask Agnes'. Recently we have had a lot of interest regarding the process of selling your home on Cape Cod. We'll start this series with the process of selling and be sure to hit relevant points to consider when listing your property including when, with whom, and why.
"Hey Agnes, should I sell my home and when should I put it on the market?"
"'Should I sell' is probably the most important question to consider for any potential seller. Before considering a move, research the time and cost for changing your current home into one more suited to your needs. If you love your current location but need an extra 200 sq ft then an addition or reconfiguration may be a better idea than a move. For more information on choosing a contractor check out our blog - 5 Things to Consider When Hiring a Contractor. However a job relocation, undesirable location, or already maximized space in your current home are all reasons that necessitate a sale.
"Once you have made the decision to sell, timing can be critical. Luckily a lot of the Cape Cod market has such low inventory right now that a home priced correctly for its condition and features can sell quickly regardless of the listing start date. Additionally we ran some numbers for the previous few years and there is no significant correlation between how close you get to your original asking price and when you list your house. However, houses that list in the early spring and late summer spend less time on the market. And the less time your home spends on the market leads to fewer mortgage payments, electric bills, insurance (etc...) so ultimately, more money in your pocket."
"What can I do to prepare my home (and myself) for listing?"
"Make a plan for the future: The most important question is where will you go once your home sells? If your home is not a primary residence then this question may already be answered, but if your home is rented it is important to make sure tenants have somewhere to go as well. Another thing to consider is your financial situation and how long you can afford to wait for your house to sell. The reality is that some properties take longer to sell than others but be sure you have enough money to pay all mortgages, taxes and repair bills that may come up. Just because you are selling doesn't mean you are not responsible for putting on a new roof or repairing damage due to flooding. Working with a local agent on a pricing strategy to meet your timeline is critical.
"Prepare the property: While squeaky hinges and jiggly doorknobs are things we all deal with in our own homes, now is the time to address each item on the punch list (a great example of a well prepared and kept property is 9 Osborn Snow Dr, East Dennis). You would laugh at how often some of these items are on the original inspection report from years (sometimes decades) ago when the owner bought the house. But don't feel bad, this is the reality of owning a home (and I have a few of these items still on the list too...Ed...). Also cleaning and appropriately staging your home highlights its best qualities. A pile of folded clothes on the bed during a showing is not as detrimental as a three foot stack of newspaper clippings on a cluttered and dusty desk. Unique furniture, expensive menageries, and unfinished projects don't sell houses. Let the best of your home shine through (and finish that 10 year old jigsaw puzzle in your new house). The same goes for landscaping. Trim the hedges, cut the grass, weed the garden, mulch the roses. Check out some suggestions in an older blog on exterior improvements. Curb appeal is the second impression of your home (the first is the photos!) and cannot be underestimated in importance."
Thanks Agnes, as always we appreciate your years (but not too many) of insight into the local market. For the next installment we'll be examining how to choose a real estate agent and what having your house listed is actually like. As always don't hesitate to contact us with questions about all of your real estate needs.