Buying a home is among the biggest financial decisions anyone can make in their lifetime.
Perhaps one just as important is when homeowners prepare to put their homes on the market.
C.J. Jeffries, a broker for Jekyll Realty, said it’s important for sellers to impress a potential buyer from the moment he or she sees the property.
“As the saying goes, first impressions are the lasting ones,” he said. “Pressure washed exteriors look fresh. Be sure the roof has been swept clean of leaves and pine straw. Inside, things should be neat and organized; minimize clutter even if it means putting things away in boxes.”
It’s also recommended for sellers to show a home with furnishings so the buyer can see how pieces of furniture fit in specific areas, he said.
M.S. “Tee” Tolleson Jr., of DeLoach Sotheby’s International Realty, said furnishings are important, especially if the owner has to move before the house is sold.
“This can depend on the particular situation of that owner, but this would be a excellent example of where staging a house with furnishings, art and other accessories can be of great value,” Tolleson said. “This really helps many, if not most, buyers visualize how their new home can look when they move in.”
Another thing that can make it difficult to sell a home, besides asking price and poor condition, is the availability for the owner to show the home, Tolleson said.
“I know when selling it can be inconvenient for the owner to make a property available to show,” Tolleson said. “However, if you cannot show it, it is almost impossible to sell.”
There is a limited inventory in the Golden Isles, which makes it more difficult for buyers to find a home to meet their needs. Currently, Tolleson said, beachfront property on St. Simons Island is the most in demand, and prices are on the rise.
The winter and spring seasons are typically the busiest times of year, but Jeffries said there is a steady market of people shopping for second homes and investment properties year round.
“January through April tend to be the busiest months, as we have buyers looking for permanent residences as well as income-producing properties,” Jeffries said. “Homes that go on the market right around the first of the year have the best chance of being sold during this time.”
Prior to putting a home on the market, people should be selective when choosing a real estate broker.
“Take a look at their track record both as an individual and as a real estate company,” Jeffries said. “Knowing how many listings they’ve sold in recent months will help give a seller confidence that they have chosen the right agent and firm.”
The sellers should also ask about how the broker will market the home in print and online, including the newest technologies.
“Also ask about the broker’s marketing technology; interactive 3-D home tours are very helpful to a buyer,” he said. “Keep in mind that there is a lot of information online and today’s buyers tend to spend hours investigating before contacting the Realtor.”
Tolleson suggested learning if the broker is engaged with the daily activities with all of his or her brokers.
“Additionally, I would want to know the broker reviews all contracts and amendments that come across their desk,” Tolleson said. “These are important documents and they need to be complete and clear for all parties involved. We can all use another set of eyes to help keep mistakes and omissions at an absolute minimum.”
In today’s market, most buyers are looking for some sort of discount, Jeffries said. But homes properly priced are easier to sell and stay on the market a shorter time.
Jeffries said there are many variables when it comes to the length of time a house remains on the market, but he said a seller with a realistic asking price can expect to wait three to six months for the house to sell.
“A realistic asking price is critical from the beginning,” he said. “The thought that one can always reduce their price is true, though an overpriced listing will be slow to bring an offer to be negotiated.”