You don’t have to be in real estate to know that the spring market is the busiest time of the year. But when exactly does “spring” begin in terms of the housing market?
In Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan, it was easy to pinpoint February as the magic month for the years 2015 and 2016. That’s when the market began to steadily increase with very few lulls moving into summer. In both of those years, nearly 40% of all homes sold in Lucas and Wood County went under contract between February and May.
Curious about the best time financially to sell? Maybe you’re not so much in a time crunch to move, but instead you know that you need to get top dollar in order to make enough for your next home. For the last two years, April has been the month where sellers got the highest percentage-to-list price during the closing on their home. Given the standard financing period of 30-45 days, this means most of those homes would have been listed by at least March.
Even though our local market has remained busier this winter than years past, there’s always a slower period during the holidays. After New Year’s, the market is known to pick up with serious buyers actively looking. December 2016 was the first time that Toledo’s housing inventory had dipped below 2,000 active listings since at least 2004. Last month, there were less than 1,500 houses for sale in Lucas county.
Data supplied by the Northwest Ohio Real Estate Information System (NORIS) Multiple Listing Service
What this data means is that right now we have historically low inventory in a market with plenty of buying power, as interest rates remain well below 4.5%. There’s tons of buyers out there rushing to find their dream home before rates rise or the perfect opportunity is lost in a bidding war. If you’re considering selling, the current market climate couldn’t be more ideal.
So what should you do to get ready?
Even in a seller’s market, a home needs certain updates in order to get top dollar. Real estate agents are familiar with neighborhood values and can help break down how your home’s condition compares to other houses that have recently sold. Major items and mechanicals may not guarantee a 100% ROI, but they could be essential to selling your home. With a mortgage looming over their heads, most buyers will be unwilling to deal with major structural issues or a leaking roof, for example.
If your mechanicals and foundation are good, but you’re looking to add the “wow factor” to ensure a high purchase price, two of the best upgrades to raise your home’s value and recoup your remodel money are minor kitchen and bathroom updates, according to U.S. News. HGTV also lists landscaping as a fix with one of the highest ROIs. First impressions are everything, and your curb appeal can make or break a deal regardless of how nice the inside may be.
The top pick by Remodeling Magazine in 2017 was re-insulating attic spaces. Upgrading to energy efficient appliances can also make for an easier sell because buyers place high value on reaping the long term rewards of lower utilities costs.
If you’re looking to spruce up your home with very little money or time, a fresh coat of (neutral) paint and some serious decluttering can go a long way. Furnished homes generally look larger and they’re easier for a buyer to visualize than a vacant property. But too many personal items can make it hard for a buyer to imagine themselves living there. Too much clutter can, of course, overwhelm a buyer and make it hard for them to focus on the house itself. Keeping your home grime and dust free is also important. Moving is hard enough, and no buyer wants to do a deep clean before they’ve even unloaded their boxes.
Throughout 2017, there was truly no bad time to list. And 2018 trends are indicating even more listing scarcity and soaring home values. But if you want to have the best odds of selling quickly and for the highest price, then it’s time to put these tips to the test! Because spring market is just around the corner.