WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO SELL YOUR HOME
In early 2021, we are in a “sellers’ market.” Interest rates are at record lows, fueling demand. Available homes are few and they generally sell in days, often with multiple offers. Buyers sometimes make 4 or 5 offers for homes without success. So, if you are thinking about selling, now is a great time.
However, there may be dark clouds on the horizon. One third of all federally owned or insured mortgages are currently in forbearance and those homes could flood the market when foreclosures resume. Listings could mushroom and the current rosy picture for sellers may end. Also, some sellers have held their homes off the market because of COVID-19 concerns, and as people get vaccinated, more homes will be listed. Now is a historically great moment to be a home seller.
Hi, I am Russell Arkin and I’ve been a Realtor in the DMV for the past 21 years. For 20 years before that, I built and remodeled homes and prior to that, I practiced law. I own investment properties and I understand that side of the business as well. In short, I have been in the local real estate market for over 40 years. I’ve seen the residential market in its ups and downs from all perspectives and my past clients tell me that’s always to their benefit. There are close to 50 five-star reviews about me online. CLICK HERE to hear from some of the satisfied clients I have helped.
In this guide, we will provide you with useful suggestions as you begin to plan the sale of your home. We will give you options so you can determine what’s right for you when you are ready to put your home on the market.
You will discover that I offer three solutions, all of which will give you maximum exposure so that your home is positioned for a Fast Sale at Top Dollar with minimum hassle.
Solutions include a sale at a top market price by listing your home. If you are selling a home and buying another and need to access the equity in your home to purchase the next home, we have a solution for that. This would solve the potential problem of being stuck with two mortgages at the same time. Our final option is a cash sale to an investor. When we meet with you, we will go over your options and the expected financial result from each.
THE 2021 REAL ESTATE MARKET IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Like all markets, the local real estate market is cyclical. It bottomed in 2009, started to recover in 2012 and has since appreciated at about 3.5% per year. Until Spring 2020, it was a balanced market. Multiple offers were rare.
The market is now strongly a Sellers’ Market, driven by historically low interest rates of under 3%, causing high demand. At the same time, there is an acute shortage of homes for sale as the charts below show. Interest rates are likely to remain historically low for the foreseeable future. Prices are up 16% in the past year. It is an extraordinarily great time to sell!
Homes that are priced properly for their location, size and condition sell in days, often with multiple offers driving the contract price substantially above list price. This has happened with a number of my listings. Buyers are not requesting seller concessions for payment of their closing costs nor asking for home inspection related repairs. They bid above asking price knowing that their appraisal contingency affords some price protection. In some cases, even appraisal contingencies are being waved. To prevail against other bidders, buyers are using "escalation clauses" which offer a higher price than all competitors while writing "love letters" to the seller describing their desire to own the home.
Buyers often need to make offers for several homes before succeeding. It’s possible that as more people are vaccinated, additional sellers will put their homes on the market and some balance will return or that the huge number of homes currently in “loan forbearance” will come onto the market as foreclosures begin again.
With homes selling so quickly, how do you assure yourself of finding a suitable replacement home? Homelessness is not appealing! Neither are two mortgage payments. We will structure the sales contract for your home so you may cancel your sale if a suitable replacement cannot be found or your purchase if the sale of your home is delayed. Guaranteed sales solutions also are available at the push of a button through Samson Instant Offers. That reduces transaction risk and liability for you! We also have a program that allows you to access the equity in your current home if you need those funds to buy your next home while preventing you from having to pay two mortgages at the same time.
With 40 years of real estate experience as an attorney, builder, investment property owner and as a full-time Realtor for 21 years, I will advise you on navigating the challenges of selling, apprise you of current market conditions, devise a marketing plan to guarantee maximum exposure for your home while providing you a professional approach tailored to your unique needs. Please listen to what our past clients have to say.
WHAT ARE THE COSTS OF SELLING A HOME?
When we list a home, we “market” your home on your behalf. Your home must be effectively marketed to attract buyers. Effective marketing entails thorough preparation, knowledgeable pricing, excellent presentation and maximum exposure. Costs are incurred in accomplishing marketing – high quality photography and video, website fees, advertising costs, etc.…
Effective marketing will draw incoming calls and inquiries which need to be handled, appointments set and showings conducted at the buyers’ convenience. Interested prospects need to be pre-qualified to assure that they are ready, willing and able to perform. Price, seller concessions (in normal times) and settlement terms are typically negotiated when an offer is received. Access to all legal documentation is needed. Once under contract, home inspection(s) and an appraisal must be scheduled and conducted, and repairs or remediation requested (if any) must be negotiated, agreed upon and performed. In essence, there is a negotiation when an offer is presented for your home and another after the home inspection occurs.
The buyer’s lender will order an appraisal and the price may be renegotiated if the appraisal is low. For certain loans, some repairs may need to be made. The closing must be set up and all of the necessary steps from contract ratification through settlement must be administered to assure that buyer financing is finalized, the appraisal is in hand and all details have been handled so that the settlement occurs without any issues or delays. Our experienced team makes sure that all of the many details are handled professionally and in a timely manner.
PREPARATION FOR SALE
Buyers expect that the home they are considering to have been well maintained. Most buyers prefer a move-in ready home where they do not have to do extensive maintenance or renovations. You might consider having your home pre-inspected to repair any minor issues before your home is listed for sale.
Cleanliness and fresh paint make a big difference! Cost effective cosmetic repairs such as paint, new lighting and door hardware go a long way toward helping your home sell once it is on the market and often provide a 2-4 times return on investment. First impressions are crucial so the exterior of your home and the landscaping need to shine. Large scale projects such as replacing a kitchen frequently do not result in a price increase exceeding to the cost of the project. We can advise you on making the best and most cost-effective repairs and selections and call on our long-term relationships with everyone you will need to get your home ready.
If you’ve lived in a home for many years, chances are that you have accumulated a lot of possessions. Between telework, kids and pets, it is difficult to stay neat and organized and defeat clutter. But you are selling and moving, so you must. This is a big project.
Study the interior and the exterior of your home. Purge garages, attics and basements. Empty closets. Clean off bookcases and counters and clear your medicine cabinets. A home that is free from clutter and is “depersonalized” simply looks better to potential buyers.
Box all the extras, label everything. (Use the Google “Keep” app) Make lists for later reference and rent temporary storage for all of the extra items in storage. You are now partially organized for moving and have made a good first step for selling.
Selling your home empty is not a good idea.
If you have moved to a new home, you should leave the home you’re selling clean and simply furnished to allow potential buyers to imagine how their lifestyle and furniture will fit the space. Even minimal staging makes a huge impression.
When I built new homes, I always staged them and every builder I have represented for the past 20 years has done the same. It turns a house into a home. We can guide you with helpful suggestions if you want to do this yourself.
If your budget allows it, professional staging of your home almost always results in additional sales proceeds far exceeding the cost. If you are still living in the home, a professional stager can help you with tips on décor or provide accents. Hear from one of our clients for when staging paid off in a big way!
PRICING YOUR HOME
How do you price a home to sell for the most money in the current market
What should your pricing strategy be? How difficult will it be to sell your home? It may be easy if your home is in a sought-after suburban area. But selling a rural or luxury home may be more difficult with fewer buyers due to location or price range. So, how do you price your home?
One thing that can be said with certainty is that overpricing is a bad idea.
Your home won’t sell or will sit on the market until you reduce the price. Homes that sell quickly after listing consistently sell for a higher percentage of the asking price. The only time you will ever receive multiple offers is in the first few days that a home goes on the market. The following tells the story in 2021.
For homes in Arlington that are on the market between 0-30 the average sold price vs the original price was 100.8%. Between 31-60 days on the market that average drops to 95.6%. 61-90 days on market drops to 94.8%. 91-120 drops to 93.5% and past 121 days drops to 93%.
For homes in Fairfax that are on the market between 0-30 days the average sold price vs the original list price was 101.4%. Between 31-60 days on the market that average drops to 97.3%. 61-90 days drops to 93.8%. 91-120 days drops to 92%. 121-180 drops to 93.5% and 180+ drops to 91.6%.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
For homes in Washington, DC that are on the market between 0-30 days the average sold price vs the original list price was 101.2%. Between 31-60 days on the market drops down to 95.9%. 61-90 days drops to 94.8%. 91-120 drops down to 92.4%. 121-180 days stays flat at 92.6% and 180+ days drops to 88.1%
"Fair Market Value" ultimately is what a buyer who is ready, willing and able will pay for your home. As much as you or I wish otherwise, neither of us determines the sales price.
The value of your home will vary based upon its size, condition, general area location, location on a busy road (or not), the school “pyramid” and current competition. We search the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for recent completed sales focusing on the foregoing factors to make that determination. We use the photographs, amenities, condition, time on the market, location, neighborhood and descriptions of the selected sales to do the precise detailed comparison mentioned above. Another reliable indicator we look at is how the price of recent sales compares to the assessed value of the homes. We also look at how many days on the market it took for these sales to occur.
We also do the same analysis for homes under contract and look at the number of available homes in your area in the same price range to gauge current competition.
Your buyer will probably find your home online. The photos and descriptions are the first opportunity to create a positive impression. Marketing today’s hot properties affords buyers the opportunity to virtually tour your home through the professionally directed photography and video tours. To see examples, CLICK HERE.
Interior shots portray your chef’s kitchen with gorgeous cabinetry and its six-burner gas stove. Look at that luxurious master bath with granite floors and counters and a steam shower. Imagine relaxing in the serene master bedroom retreat or spacious sun lit family room with gas fireplace.
The listing remarks will give potential buyers a feel for how the home “lives”. Not only should the features of your home be described but also what it feels like to prepare delicious meals while chatting across the breakfast bar and watching the kids and the dog in the back yard. What it’s like to awaken in the private owner’s suite and enjoy the spa-like master bath? Touch those emotions!
Does your home support multi-generational living? Which amenities are available nearby? What are the transportation and commuter routes? How far is shopping, entertainment and restaurants? Are there floor plans and a plat? What is the utility expense history?
With these data, our team will place information in the MLS from where it will be sent to dozens of portals where people search for homes such as Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com.
The MLS drives your data to dozens of web portals nationally and globally, so your home will receive massive exposure to buyers. Assuming proper presentation and pricing, they will take the next step!
My unique marketing methodology provides great exposure to assure a sale at the highest possible price within the shortest time period and with the least disruption to you.
In addition to the MLS, Facebook ads drive interested buyers to a beautifully presented Individual webpage with custom description, photos, video and extensive information for potential buyers developed specifically for the sale of your house. Similar information will be placed on our YouTube channel and our marketing will drive searches to that page. The same property webpage is promoted on my Google business page and is potentially seen by tens of thousands of verified homeowners in the area of your home.
We also may use Google, Facebook, Facebook Live and YouTube as well as Instagram. Any buyer looking for a home like yours will see it!
Showings for your home will be scheduled electronically by appointment. In this time where COVID-19 is such a great concern, persons who want to view your home will be asked to observe all necessary health precautions – remove shoes, masks, no groups larger than three, don’t touch anything, don’t visit if you are feeling unwell.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A LISTING AGREEMENT IS SIGNED?
The listing agreement authorizes our team to market and sell your home. All the information gathered in preparation is entered into the MLS system to offer your home to the widest possible audience. This phase will be coordinated by one of our experienced team members who will schedule all necessary activities such as photography, listing signs, data entry and property data syndication.
For a complete list of the tasks we perform as we prepare to list a home please CLICK HERE.
We will place a sign in front of your home and an electronic lock box on your door with keys for access. This system records the identity of every Realtor who shows your home and allows me to follow up with them.
When a showing is scheduled, you will receive an email or text of the time scheduled and the agent’s name.
Best practice is to neaten up and turn on the lights. Crate the dog if needed. If your Covid-19 concern is high, provide masks and plastic gloves and we can instruct in the online showing instructions that they must be worn and that surfaces not be touched! Open pantry, closets, basement door, etc. before the showing. Hand sanitizer is a good idea, too.
You should not be present while showings are conducted. Potential buyers and their agents need to be able to converse freely.
Your home will get the most views online and the most showings when it first goes on the market. If priced correctly, you will get showings and offers quickly. If none are scheduled, the price is too high. If you are getting showings but no offers, the price is too high. This is to be doubly emphasized in the current market where there is an extreme shortage of homes for sale and high demand. If a home doesn’t sell quickly, potential buyers assume it’s in poor condition, overpriced or both.
Once your home is Active, I will provide:
REASONS WHY HOMES DO NOT SELL
These and other factors may slow a sale but will not prevent a sale. The sale price will simply be lower.
You will be informed of all offers immediately and I will suggest possible counter offers.
In consultation with you, I will negotiate on your behalf to reach an agreement and assist with home inspection negotiations, repairs and appraisals. Our team will coordinate with the buyer’s agent, the lender and the title company to ensure that all details needed to ensure a timely and trouble-free closing have been taken care of.
For a complete list of the 188 Critical Steps we take to get your home sold CLICK HERE.
SUMMARY AND TAKEAWAYS
Selling a home is a serious job. 2021 is a uniquely great time to sell your home. Ultra-low interest rates and lack of inventory have combined to produce the best market for sellers in the last ten years. The COVID-19 lockdowns has simultaneously hobbled the ability of many homeowners to meet current mortgage payments with four million mortgages in forbearance. Many of these may be future distressed sellers! So, if you’re going to sell, then let’s get going.
Sellers must market their homes with thorough preparation, knowledgeable pricing, excellent presentation and maximum exposure. This guide tells you how to do that and how I can help!
Proper pricing affects market enthusiasm for a purchase, length of time on market and the eventual price received. If done well, your result will be very rewarding.
I will market your home in such a way that everyone who could possibly be interested has the opportunity to know that your home is for sale!
Wouldn’t it make sense to get a GREAT Agent working for you? Just take it from satisfied past clients.
We want to partner with you and be part of your selling “experience!”
Call or text Russell Arkin now at 703-401-7327 for a FREE phone consultation, for a ZOOM call or for a meeting at your home. No obligation. It takes 30-60 minutes!
Let’s accomplish your goals and get your home sold!