By Holly Henbest, Realtor
Do our falling temperatures have you thinking about falling in love with a new home? If so, you’re not alone. This is typically the time of year we start to see more activity as people ponder the holiday season and new year ahead.
If you read my article last month, you’ll recall that I expected inventory to start to increase a bit, and it has increased. It has not been a huge increase, but inventory went up 3.2% from week to week as of this writing. Last year at this time we had over 19,000 listings and currently we sit around 12,600, so our inventory remains incredibly low. However, any increase in inventory is an increase and we’re happy to see it.
In terms of sales, I also predicted an increase with July typically a low point with so many people escaping the heat or just not wanting to deal with moving in the heat. Our August sales were up 8% from July and new construction home sales were up 19% from July.
It’s interesting to note the continued success of sales of new construction. We tend to focus on re-sale homes. Although we may not be seeing as many for sale signs in our neighborhoods, it’s important to note that new construction homes continue to be a strong sales market, which shows that homes are still selling, and Arizona remains a high demand destination.
If you’re thinking about listing your home for sale in the near future, here are a few things you may want to start working on now to ensure your home is ready to attract the best offers.
It’s cooling down and getting darker earlier, and now is a great time to remove sunscreens. Although they are a nice feature, they don’t let your house show in its best light––pun intended. Sunscreens also don’t photograph well and cause listing photos to have less than optimal presentation making the interior of the home naturally dark instead of naturally light. In real estate, light it critical––lighter and brighter makes better. So gently remove those screens and store them nicely in the garage for the potential buyers to see when they visit your home.
Regardless of whether or not you are selling your home, washing windows is a good regular maintenance item. The longer you go between cleanings, the more damage may occur to your windows. When selling, homes with spotty or dirty windows are problematic when buyers visit a home. Buyers are often immediately drawn to the windows to see the views, and a lot of time is spent in front of all the windows. The next time you go to look at a house, think about your movements through the house, and I would bet that one of the first things you do is walk toward a window or door to look outside. Cleaning windows is a great ‘attention to detail’ item. It also doesn’t allow the buyer’s mind to wander to the feeling that they’re in a dirty home. It just feels good to look out clean windows.
I know this is a lot about windows, but windows are a big focal point for buyers’ eyes. Windows with broken seals (you see a fogginess between the panes), cracked glass, and distorted weather seals are all potential repair items. When a prospective buyer sees that one window needs repair, one may think all the windows will need repair or replacement. It’s better to just get the damaged windows repaired in advance.
This may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many homes aren’t fully cleaned prior to listing. People don’t like other people’s dirt. Be sure you pay attention to details like shower floors, baseboards, door tracks, mirrors, dust on fans, and a/c filters. As you’re cleaning you may also find things to donate or throw away if not needed or not used.
Have you ever had a light bulb burn out in a fixture that holds multiple bulbs and then you replace the bulb only to realize the bulbs don’t match, but you just leave it anyway? We see this often, and not only does it look a bit tacky to have unmatched bulbs, but the photos will look odd when there are different types of bulbs in a fixture. It’s better to get all the bulbs in a room and fixture to match.
The entry to your home is where buyers linger while their Realtor gets the key out of the lockbox and where they stand and chat after the showing. Ensure your front entry gives a great impression with these easy steps.
1. Ensure your key and door lock work smoothly. So many times, we’ve stood at a front door and broken into a sweat trying to get a door lock to work, let alone how many times it just didn’t work at all. This is stressful for the Realtor, but more importantly the first impression of the home to the buyer isn’t a good one.
2. Clean you front door and light fixtures thoroughly. We see a lot of gunky looking front doors and it’s just not a good first impression. Most doors just need to be hosed and wiped down, but if you have any significant wear and tear, then we suggest a fresh coat of paint or replacement.
3. Get a fresh welcome mat. This is an easy step and makes a huge difference from the tattered mats we typically find.
4. Add a pot of fresh flowers for a pop of color and an inviting entrance.
One additional item regarding the front door is to plan ahead, and ensure you have a key to your front door. Easily more than 90% of our clients can’t locate a key to their front door and need to have one made prior to listing their home.
We also recommend making any repairs that seem obvious to someone walking through your home to avoid what we call the double dip. Someone may make an offer based on the current condition, but then they may also call that item out after a home inspection, so essentially you may end up “paying” for that repair twice.
If you were to do all of these things it would have a significant impact in the photos that are presented for your listing in addition to making a much better impression of the home when buyers come to take a look in person. So, if you’re thinking about selling your home in the near future, now is a good time to start addressing items in your home.
If you’re ready to fall in love with a new home and have questions, please reach out to us.
Holly has been a Desert Ridge resident since 2000 and has been a Realtor since 2006. She is the leader of The Henbest Team with Realty One Group. Holly is ranked in the top ½ of 1 percent of Realtors in Arizona and is a certified luxury marketing expert. She has been ranked #24 in the Top 50 Realtors by the “Phoenix Business Journal” for the past several years and recognized by “So Scottsdale!” magazine as a Real Estate Superstar for 2019, 2020 and 2021. She’s also been the #1 ranked realtor at Realty One Group/North Scottsdale for the past several years. Learn more at henbest.com.