Finally, a little time to reflect on what's happening 'out there'. The June numbers are showing that the real estate market has shifted, and there is a sense that maybe that’s a good thing. Not only was the market travelling at an unsustainable pace, the frenetic pandemic market was also creating chaos - forcing buyers to make snap decisions many could come to regret as interest rates rise, and home prices fall. Add to that, today’s crazy inflation is making life difficult for everyone. As a Realtor, my job goes beyond hanging the ‘for sale’ sign and closing the deal. It's about helping sellers and buyers make wise, strategic, and informed decisions throughout the entire process. Emotions need to be kept in-check on so many levels. So, here’s some key advice in this changing environment: Use a Realtor. (Of, course.) And, upgrades matter.
If you’ve been thinking of selling your home, you can no longer assume it will be snapped up, regardless of what shape it’s in. Most buyers want to see a finished product, not a work in progress. Hardwood flooring and updated kitchens usually top the lists I see. And, you can bet perspective buyers will be lowering offer numbers in their head, as they wander around adding up the costs necessary to make things perfect.
The key is focus on impact, and first impressions. Use your senses. What’s the first thing you see when you walk into your home? If it’s the outdated tile you’ve always hated – show it to the door! Choose a classic tile that works with whatever existing flooring it butts up against. Now is not the time for a wildly trendy tile pattern. And that messy entryway closet configuration could be transformed into the modern farmhouse mudroom of your dreams. Just saying.
What do you smell? If it’s the carpet that keeps your feet (and your dog) cozy in the family room – it’s over-stayed its welcome. Replace or remove carpet everywhere, whenever possible. Buyers are sensitive to odours, and you can only Febreeze, or bake so many cookies on showing days. Plus, if there’s hardwood hidden under there – it’s a win-win!
Buyers can be touchy. Your electrical may be up-to-code, but is it up to date? Swap out those dirty beige sockets and old-school toggle flip switches for smooth, elegant rocker switches. And don’t forget dimmers you can slide with a finger. Updating a light fixture or two is also a good idea. You don’t have to spend a fortune to find great statement lighting these days.
Are you hearing a rumble from the kitchen? Maybe your magnet-adorned refrigerator is trying to tell you something. Buyers will start doing the math if the appliances need to be swapped out. Look for a deal at Big Box stores. Manufacturers will often offer savings and free shipping if you bundle up 2 or more appliances.
And let’s talk about taste. Good, timeless taste. Traditional white subway tile may not be your thing, but you can’t go wrong with the classic shape if you are swapping out a backsplash or creating a new one. Same goes for counter tops. You might be attracted to the swirly, blue-veined quartz - but step away, and think neutral. Neutral is always a safe bet.
The current market shift is called a ‘correction’ in my world, but I prefer to call it a cooling. Higher interest rates and a reduced pandemic panic have had a negative impact on home sales – but not on buyer motivation. The market is still strong, it’s just beating the heat with a little cool down. Take advantage of this beautiful weather and work on your home’s first impressions. Get creative and add a home office on an empty wall. Paint the front door. Declutter. Put some elbow grease into your yard. And get in touch if you’d like me to walk you through the first steps toward buying or selling. Strategy and common sense are always in style.