Things You Can Control in a Home Sale (& Things You Can't)

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Some homes sell the day they list, while others seemingly take forever. While every situation is unique, there are a number of factors that can shorten or lengthen the time your house is on the market. Some factors you can control, and others you cannot. This post will explain which factors fall into which category and what you can do to make sure you keep your home sale moving along.

Home for sale

Factors You Can't Control:

  • Market Conditions:
    This is all about supply and demand. In a buyer’s market, there are plenty of homes for sale and the demand for them is low. In a seller’s market, the housing inventory is limited, and the demand is high. You can’t control the market - you can only keep an eye out for when it will shift in your favor.
  • Neighborhood Demand:
    Unless your home is mobile, you can’t magically change your neighborhood - but you can be realistic about who would want to live there and market your home specifically to those buyers. If you live in an area near great schools, consider posting your listing at your kid's school to appeal to families in the area. If you live in a great starter home in a walkable area, consider marketing to first-time buyers.
  • Location:
    Some buyers prefer the quiet streets away from the hustle and bustle. Others prefer to be walking distance to everything. Think about the best parts of being where you are and highlight them in your listing description.
  • Seasonality:
    Seasonality impacts different areas in different ways. Generally speaking, sales tend to be higher during the warmer seasons. If your property is in a beach town, you may find that is especially true for summer and even slower than usual in winter. But if you’re in a ski town, you may find the opposite to be true. Time your sale accordingly, if possible.

Factors You Can Control:

  • Price:
    If you live in a million dollar neighborhood and list your home for $1.5 million, you should expect it to take longer to sell. If you’re in no rush to sell and you know your home has special characteristics that warrant a higher price, then take your time and wait for the right buyer. In this case, if you need to sell fast, you will most likely need to lower your price.
  • Staging:
    Taking time to set up your space makes an enormous difference. Removing clutter, a fresh coat of paint, mowing the lawn… anything you'd do before you host family for the holidays. The more a buyer can picture themselves in your home, the more interested they will be.
  • Marketing:
    Getting exposure means making sure your property is listed on the MLS and that your listing is syndicated to the most popular real estate sites. It also means having a For Sale sign in your yard and spreading the word about your home on social media. Everything you do to increase your exposure will speed you along to a faster sale.
  • Response time:
    This refers to how long it takes for you to answer your calls or emails from potential buyers. When you respond quickly to a buyer, it signals that you are a responsible and reliable seller. Buyers don’t want the hassle of following up all the time, so if you're slow to respond, it can be a big turn off. Prioritize being responsive to increase your odds of landing a strong buyer, faster.

Be realistic about the time it will take to sell your home. Focus on the things you can control and adjust accordingly for the things you can’t.

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