Tips for maximizing fall listings
You’ve probably had this conversation with your friends already this year, but we’ll broach the subject again: What the heck happened to fall? The most pleasant season of the year also seems to be the shortest, with many parts of the country seemingly sipping from a 90-degree Indian summer to snow in a matter of weeks, if not days.
But we digress. For the Real Estate market, fall (however long it is) is a time to recover from the busy summer season and take stock of your listings. What sold? What didn’t? Why? Some sellers may take their homes off the market and some buyers may call it good until Spring, opting to not add the stress of moving to the already loaded holiday season.
But for those who stay in the market, the motivation factor ratchets up a notch. They’ve already missed the summer season, so they’ll want to make up for lost time, even if that means a price drop or willingness to negotiate. For you, the upside is more time to devote to those who remain in your portfolio, which is never bad for peace of mind or relationships.
So, without further ado, here are some tips to making the most of your fall listings:
Keep it clean
More than any other season, fall requires some good, old-fashioned elbow grease (which require some prodding and nudging of your clients). Gutters should be cleaned out often. Yards should be raked. Features like patios, outdoor kitchens and pools should be cleaned regularly (if they’re still open). The temperature of the house should find a balance between the warmish autumn days and the cool autumn nights.
Obviously this step varies depending on what part of the country you’re listing is in; November in New England is much different than November in So Cal.
Which hue is you?
Autumn is a great chance to switch up your listing’s color palette – the teals and yellows of summer can give way to the richer hues of fall, particularly in the aforementioned part of the country where the leaves change to match. Fall decorating can range from the simple – an autumnal wreath or mums on the porch in more stately neighborhoods – to the precious – hay bales, cornacopias or scarecrows if your target buyers are families.
But don’t pigeonhole yourself into micro: If your listing is in need of a large-scale change (to go with a new batch of photos with the online listing) consider talking to your clients about repainting the house to warm up the look. Grays and slates can really pop behind a curtain of bright fall foliage.
Remember: Winter is coming
Just because you’re not using your fireplace or woodstove just yet doesn’t mean potential buyers aren’t thinking about using them when the weather turns cold for good. Be sure to clean your chimneys, sweep out fireplaces, and have woodstoves and other heating devices inspected to ensure proper working order.
Outside, be sure your roofs, gutters and sidewalks are clear and ready for winter weather. Have trees trimmed to ensure any ice snow do minimal damage to limbs (and hence your house). Re-seal windows and glass doors. Then make sure potential buyers know you’ve done all of that.
If November becomes mid-December, it may be time to have a heart-to-heart with your clients. Do they really need to move now? Is extending the time-on-market figure worth it? If the answer to either of those questions is “yes” then it may be time to lower their price or explore financial options that would make a move possible, particularly if there is interest or offers in the property that are falling just short of a contract.
Keep your clients flexible
If your clients follow the advice above and price their home accordingly, a fall sale could happen pretty quickly (because you’re an awesome agent). You could do them a huge favor by helping them be prepared to move quickly. Moving during fall could be ideal (not too hot!) or pretty darn rough (rain, rain, go away). You’ll want your clients ready with boxes, a moving plan and – naturally – a place to move into.
Which, as their agent, we know you’ll be more than happy to help find.