Here in the Northern Virginia and Greater DC areas, many homes don’t stay on the market for long. The extended sellers’ market means that there are more buyers in the market than there are homes for sale – which often results in multiple offers or offers above list price. However, even in this market there are homes that take a little longer to sell, or locations that are not as desirable as others. This means that sellers often have to have the flexibility to make adjustments in their strategy when necessary.
So what factors can impact how long it may take to sell your home?
You Need a Good Realtor®
First and foremost, many of the following issues can be avoided if you make a solid choice in the Realtor® that represents you. Listen to your agents’ advice regarding the pricing of your home, the condition, and the other factors that can impact the sales price. You also want someone who is an expert on your neighborhood and has proven marketing plans that get results.
The Right Marketing is a Game Changer
If you have hired the right agent, then they will make sure that your listing is seen on as many online sources as possible, through the MLS®, as well as through syndicated sites like Zillow, Realtor.com, and other similar sites. Most prospective home buyers spend weeks looking at houses online before they ever venture to a showing. To make sure your home generates a buzz online, professional photos, professional staging, and strategic cosmetic improvements are all part of the marketing package.
You can also help things along…share your home listing or your agent’s Facebook posts with your own network, and forward emails marketing your home. Being an active participant in the marketing process can help you sell your home faster.
The Price isn’t Right
A lot of factors can affect the pricing of your home. Location, condition, curb appeal, key features, comparative sales in the area, and numerous other factors impact pricing. Your agent can help you look at what other homes have sold for in your neighborhood and how they stack up against your home. Don’t expect to price high and negotiate down, because your high price may prevent the perfect buyers from finding your home in their online search.
The Home is in Disrepair
If your home has a lot of visible signs of neglect and disrepair, then you may need to either make the repairs before putting it on the market or adjust the price accordingly. Don’t expect to get the same price for a neglected home that your neighbor’s pristine, updated home received. Your agent will advise you on the best course of action, depending on your situation and financial means.
Your Home isn’t Show-able
Unfortunately, there is no magic wand that you can wave that instantly makes your home ready for home showings. It takes work, and it take time, to make a good first impression. This includes everything from curb appeal, to basic cleanliness. No piles of laundry on the bed or hanging from the unused exercise bike in the corner. Freshly mown grass. Dishes done and put away. Extra furniture moved to storage. Clutter removed. Adjust the climate control so your home is comfortable and inviting, no matter the season. Even if you can’t make your home a showplace, you can make it sparkle and appear well cared for.
Show-ability also includes the availability of your home for showings. If you are overly inflexible and make it difficult for people to see your home, they won’t be interested in making an offer. So do what you can to make your home available as much as possible.
Your Location is Holding You Back
While most neighborhoods in the Greater DC are experiencing a seller’s market, the truth is, there are always going to be some areas that move more quickly than others. Some neighborhoods may be too far from public transportation or the commute is too far from major employers, or it takes too long to get to grocery stores and other conveniences or entertainment. To attract buyers you may need to be flexible on price, or wait a little longer for the perfect buyer to come along. Unfortunately, you can’t pick up your home and move it to a different location, so you will need to adjust in other ways.
Smelly Cat, Smelly Cat…Drives Your Buyers Away
While we can joke about the smelly cat, it’s really ANY odors that can affect prospective buyers. You may not even notice them, because you have become desensitized to them. Pet odors are an issue, but also cigarette smoke, strong cooking smells, mildew, locker room odors in a teenager’s room, can all drive away potential buyers. Have a friend or someone who doesn’t live in the home help you by giving it the smell test, and then address the issues. You may need to temporarily relocate pets or refrain from cooking foods with strong odors when your home has showings.
There is Too Much Competition
While generally not an issue in Northern Virginia, since there are not enough homes to meet demand, it is possible for a situation to arise in certain neighborhoods where multiple homes are for sale at the same time. This situation could impact how long it takes your home to sell, since you will be competing against your neighbors for the attention of your buyers. Proper timing of your sale could make all the difference in ensuring that your home gets the attention it deserves.
Lack of Flexibility
A seller who is perceived as difficult to work with may drive buyers away. There is give and take in negotiating an offer, unless you are in a situation where you have multiple competing offers. If you are unwilling to bend on price or unwilling to work with buyers on repairs that come to light in the inspection, then you may find yourself waiting longer to sell your home.
Our top-notch team achieves strong results for our sellers, with our unique combination of targeted marketing and expert staging and preparation. Whether you are looking to buy or sell a home in Northern Virginia, we are always here to help with all your real estate needs! If you are unsure of your home’s value or if you are thinking about buying or selling, contact Jason at 703-298-7037 or Jason@JasonAndBonnie.com.