Even if you considered home to be a safe harbor, you probably learned one big lesson from this pandemic: your house no longer fits your needs. Maybe you welcomed a new baby — or maybe you plan to work from home forever and need some dedicated office space. In whatever way you are bursting at the seams, now is the right time to sell your home.
“So many of us have realized while we were stuck at home in our COVID lifestyles that our houses no longer fit our needs,” says Jim Shaffer, owner of Jim Shaffer and Associates (JSA) in Royal Oak. “You may have outgrown your home or you may be downsizing because you no longer need the 2,000 square feet you needed when your family was younger. It’s important to have the right-size home for the right stage of your life.”
Today’s first-time sellers are the first-time buyers of a few years ago, says Shaffer. You bought a 1,000ish-square-foot starter home and had a few children. But now you realize how difficult it is to live comfortably in a small home with all the toys and furniture kids need. Or maybe you dream of having just one more bathroom.
“That need for a little more space is a big driver for people to sell their house,” Shaffer says.
Is now the right time to sell your house?
“Right now, selling your home is easy,” Shaffer says. “Houses that go on the market can sell and get a record price, much more than sellers think.”
That high selling price could provide some leverage for your next home, but it also may leave you feeling nervous about affordability, Shaffer says. “We help people find a home so they can feel comfortable giving up the sure thing. Most people need to sell their home before they can buy,” he says.
The good news is that home affordability is in your favor. “Even though prices are at an all-time high, affordability in America has never been better because of low interest rates,” Shaffer explains. “At about 3% for a 30-year loan, that affordability rate means it makes sense to lock in for the next 30 years.”
The important thing to remember is that when you sell, you don’t have to go it alone. The help of a trusted and successful real estate professional can make all the difference when you sell your house.
What the process looks like
You’re ready to find a home that better suits your needs and lifestyle, but what does the selling-then-buying process involve?
Before listing your home, it’s always a good idea to explore the idea of buying your next home first, Shaffer says.
“Even when people are in the exploratory phase, we like to help them see what is out there. We jump on and look at a variety of properties to see if the grass is greener,” he explains. “I always suggest we go out and look. You won’t fall in love with a home at this stage, but you will make sure the home you want is available in the price you can afford.”
Once you are comfortable knowing your next home is within your reach, you’ll “talk listing strategy,” Shaffer says.
Your JSA team member will meet you in your home and help you determine the value of your current property. You might discuss what can increase the value of your home, and JSA can even provide a list of trusted contractors to help with any home repairs or updates.
“It really all starts with a phone call or a visit to our website and that initial consultation,” Shaffer says. JSA team members will build a strategy and timeline that include the skills of a professional in-house photographer and a mutually agreeable date to capture images of your home. “Typically, your home will go on the market within five days,” he says.
Showings and deadlines
Once your home is on the market, JSA will navigate all the showings with interested buyers. “It’s not uncommon to get 20 to 60 showings in the first five days,” Shaffer says. “It can be a chaotic time, so it’s nice to get away for the weekend or prepare to have a place to go. Visiting friends and family, or even taking the dog for a walk are all great ways to get out of the house. Plan to get your steps in that weekend.”
Once interest builds, JSA will work with you to set a “highest and best” date to allow showings to continue until a deadline when all offers are collected. With considerable expertise, JSA will advise which offer is best and why.
“This advice is based on which offers are most likely to close to help you avoid any pitfalls,” Shaffer says, adding that an understanding of the various types of financing, associated down payments and appraisals is critical at this stage — knowledge that the JSA team brings to the table.
Why working with a real estate pro is important
Because good real estate agents pay attention to all of the issues related to home sales and the housing market, they have a wealth of knowledge and can guide first-time sellers through every aspect of the selling process. They know what features buyers are looking for, but they also know the finer points of sales negotiations.
For first-time sellers who are looking to make that important move to a home that matches your current needs, the help of a knowledgeable professional means you’ll make decisions based on facts rather than emotions.
“This is an emotional experience for most people, but we are here to educate you and guide you back to the facts. We are here to be the calm ones and we make sure we are doing the right thing for our clients at all times,” Shaffer says.
“Selling a home and moving is a stressful time and our job as professionals is to mitigate that stress and approach the process with a strategy that works.”
Learn more about Jim Shaffer and Associates at soldcalljim.com.