The return of Autumn brings changing leaves, back to school prepping, and hopefully the sound of a “SOLD!” sign being placed in front of your home. 2020 has definitely been one for the books. With COVID-19 changing our lives forever, this includes the way people sell and buy homes. During spring 2020, some sellers made the decision to hold back placing their home on the market due to the turbulent nature of the pandemic.
“For the first time in a long time, the Chicago market wasn’t trending opposite of the national numbers, but rather better than the U.S. market as a whole. Nationally, the number of homes sold in March was down 0.6 percent month/month, while Chicago saw an uptick of 33 percent month/month. Another report said that 12 percent of Chicago homes for sale went under contract within 14 days of being listed, compared to 35 percent of homes on the national market.” Chicago Luxury Real Estate
Now that the fall season has arrived, you may find yourself concerned about attempting to sell your home. Attorney Ben Weaver doesn’t want you to be discouraged! There are actually quite a few advantages of selling your home in the fall…
According to Zillow: “While it’s true that housing inventory (the number of homes on the market) is lower in the fall than in the spring and summer, it’s also true that buyers who are shopping in the fall are likely to be serious about buying. Fall buyers may be moving because of a job relocation or change in family situation, so they’re often eager to close a deal. And, the hotter your local real estate market, the less significant a role seasonality plays.”
Now you may be wondering: What about families that don’t want to uproot their children at the beginning of a new school year?
With many Americans still working from home and the majority of children in Illinois participating in E-learning, transfering into a new school district during the 2020 school year is actually not a huge deciding factor for families with children under eighteen. Online learning at home has given flexibility for moving your family to a new school district. Children won’t be startled by a new in-person schedule or routine; they also won’t be faced with the fear of making friends in person while remote learning. Plus, it’s a misconception that most buyers are shopping according to their kids’ school year schedules. In fact, more than half of buyers don’t have kids under 18 at home, so this season is as good a time as any!
Once you’ve made the decision to sell your home, now it’s time to find the best realtor with your interests in mind!
As you drive around your neighborhood, it’s likely you’ll see “For Sale” signs from local realtors. Research the ones that look familiar to you. The advantages of choosing a local realtor is that they will understand how to best sell properties in your area. They may even have insights that larger firms may be unaware of due to location and knowing the community. Every realtor has their own style, some may excel in selling family homes while others flourish in selling bachelor pads and commercial real estate. It’s important to do your research, experience is important! Having the right realtor is a vital factor in selling your home quickly and for what it’s worth.
Be sure to read reviews left by former clients. Search for reviews on sites such as…
Quick Tip: You don’t have to hire the first realtor you speak with! Shop around and ask questions:
- How long have you been selling homes in this area ?
- Do you have experience selling homes during fall and winter seasons?
- What creative staging ideas have you been recently using to make properties sell during the pandemic?
If you’re still having a difficult time finding a potential realtor you can trust, contact Ben Weaver. He has been working with realtors in the Northwest suburbs for many years and has great connections with local businesses!
Proven Tips for Selling Your Home in the Fall
Hire a Photographer: With everything done virtually, it’s a must to digitize your property to give people a tour from their own home. In fact, there is a large market specifically targeted at online home shopping. These potential buyers will more than likely will be viewing your home in an untraditional way during COVID-19. They’ll tour your property via video calls with their realtors, online photos, or even a 3D layout!
Real estate agents and sellers are getting their properties on the market safely with the aid of virtual home touring. Virtual home tours (also known as 3D tours or 3D walkthroughs) allow home buyers to digitally tour a home that’s for sale. Virtual tours are quickly becoming the new “norm” for house hunters across America.
During March of 2020, Redfin saw such a large surge in video home tour requests: As the coronavirus upends the buying process, house hunters are increasingly relying on Redfin’s virtual technology for viewing and closing on homes. Redfin saw a 494% increase in requests for agent-led video home tours last week, following an 80% increase the prior week, as homebuyers began relying heavily on virtual viewings amid the coronavirus outbreak. As of yesterday, 18.9% of tour requests made on Redfin.com were video-chat tour requests, up from 0.2% at the beginning of March – a 94-fold increase.”
Quick Tip: Become a Pro at Virtual House Hunting and 3D Tours!
Become Camera Ready: Clean up and pay attention to details. Areas such as mirrors that may have smudge reflections on camera should be wiped down thoroughly! Dust off shelves. Make sure paintings aren’t crooked. Take before and after photos. Make a prep video walkthrough of your home with friends and family, then ask them what areas of your home stand out to them. Open up the space in your home and make it feel bigger by placing large pieces of furniture into storage temporarily. Arrange some autumn inspired towels in the kitchen and bathroom. Small touches to make viewers feel at home – even through a screen!
Quick Tip: When taking pictures of your property, park your car on the street. This will give buyers a full view of your home both externally and internally.
Due to the pandemic, many real estate firms have become digitally creative when selling homes. This innovative way of home buying has opened up new, convenient avenues for both sellers & buyers to make the experience simple and safe! Learn more about the creative ways people are viewing homes in 2020.
Making Sure the Price is Right: When you hire a realtor, one of the first things you will discuss is the value of your property. Determining the value of your home is a combination of the square footage, the condition the home is in, neighborhood safety, schools ratings, property taxes, and more. There are a few other factors to consider….
What is a Zestimate? Your Zestimate is Zillow’s take on the estimated market value of your house, computed daily based on millions of data points, including comparable sales data. It serves as a good jumping off point to determine property value.
Once the base price of your home is decided on, your realtor will list the home. Good news: As of right now it’s a sellers market! A seller’s market exists when there is a large number of ready, willing, and able home buyers in the market to purchase a home but there is a shortage in the supply of homes for sale. This is the current state of home selling in Illinois.
“With fewer homes on the market, buyers are snapping up what’s available. When homes are priced right and in good condition, real estate agents are often seeing multiple offers above asking price within hours of showing.” Chicago Tribune
Quick Tip: Your selling price might be a major contributing factor into you buying a new home. If that’s the case, learn more about how 23 Legal can help you with selling your home while buying a new property!
Don’t Stay on the Fence About Selling Your Home: Zillow has a great “Pros and Cons” list that may help you get comfortable with the idea of selling your home in the Autumn:
- Move fast: Simply put, you’ll sell your house faster than you would in a buyers market.
- Negotiation power: When inventory is tight, you have the upper hand in negotiating with potential buyers.
- Bidding wars: While not a guarantee, you’re more likely to receive multiple offers that could drive the price up
Fulfill Your Obligations as a Seller: You will need to make sure your current property is actually sellable. Get a strong estimate on your property. If you can afford it, hire a detailed appraiser. They will let you know if your home is violating any local codes or has any issues that can potentially block the sale of your property. If your home requires any maintenance, get it done and get it done right with professional contractors! Keep all your paperwork from any renovations for proof.
Quick Tip: If there are warranties on any of your updated appliances or installations, these can be a great asset towards selling the home!
Now that you’ve established your home is market ready, it’s time to roll your sleeves up and let’s get to work…
Creating Autumn Themed Curb Appeal: This is a simple, stylistic way to draw positive attention to your home. There is something magical about fall. The colors are warm hues of orange, yellows, and vibrant reds. Clean off our driveway, sweep the garage, trim hedges, and power wash any parts of your house that look dirty. Make sure the exterior of your home doesn’t have any eyes sores like:
- Peeling paint or outdated colors
- Rusted iron posts
- Broken or cracked stairs
- Leaning or broken mail boxes
Illinois’ Autumn season is always picturesque and magical, use the natural landscape to your advantage when placing your home on the market! If you have large trees and bushes that frequently shed leaves, rake them up to bag them or place them into neat piles. Add a flare of whimsy by placing a small smiling scarecrow with a broom next to a designated brush pile. Cute details like this can encourage potential buyers to feel at home in your space. Have some fun with sprucing up your property. Stay in the mind frame of “this home brought us joy, we want its future owners to enjoy it as well”. With this level of positivity, staging the outside of your home will come naturally to you and may even be fun!
Don’t Forget Autumn Decorations: Head on over to the local farmers market or craft store, they will have seasonal treats and decor. Festive natural products like corn stalks, hand painted welcome signs, and of course pumpkins. Did you know that pumpkins and gourds come in a wide range of colors? Add a level of sophistication and class try placing white pumpkins and unusual looking gourds/squashes like the turban squash on your porch. These spectacular color profiles will draw attention and hopefully prospective buyers. Have some fun with pumpkins on your walkway!
Seasonal Landscaping: Fall brings along unique flowers and shrubs. Nothing adds excitement more to a home than living, vibrant plants! Having pristine landscaping will elevate your property to new heights – aesthetically and even financially speaking. Start with adding lovely planters in areas you’d like to stand out. For example if you have a wrap around porch, symmetrically place blooming flowers pots to give the space more wow factor. Flowers like Mums, Goldenrods, Amaranthus, and Dahlias all have stunning blooms. These delightful flowers are hearty in gathering fall and early winter. Learn more about flowers that work best in our area!
Quick Tip: Even when Halloween draws near, avoid using scary decorations. Stay welcoming and minimalistic.
Traditional Home Tours: First impressions really are everything! When potential buyers come to view your property, more than likely your home fits their wishlist. Never heard of a home wish list? Learn more here! You only get one shot to make a potential buyer feel welcome. Spice up life during a home tour by adding seasonal pumpkin spice hand sanitizers and lightly scented apple cider candles! By adding small details to your home, the buyer will feel more confident and may later remember something from the tour that will keep your home in the forefront of their minds.
Humans rely heavily on their sense. Consider this when prepping your house for visitors. What will they see, smell, hear, and feel when they enter your house? Make sure the lighting is bright enough to see important details, but not overpowering. Be selective when choosing candles, something that smells nice but isn’t too distracting.
Quick Tip: The sun sets quicker in the fall. Even though many people are working from home during the pandemic, some home buyers won’t be able to view the property early in the day. Make sure your have adequate porch lighting and even add a welcome mat for a nice touch!
Bonus: Use Pinterest and Houzz for home decor inspiration! Pinterest and Houzz are both great social media platforms for homeowners to get ideas for staging your home. Create themed boards, organize ideabooks, and find products that will help give your home a boost!
It’s Important to Hire a Real Estate Attorney When Selling Your Home
You may already have a credible real estate agent on your team, however that’s not the same thing as having a real estate attorney. Do you know the difference between these two job titles – and why you’ll need both for a successful move? Hiring both a real estate agent and an attorney will be beneficial to your overall home buying experience. Each professional brings something important to the table. Learn more about the differences between the two here!
Real estate attorneys help with the “hard to translate” legal details and jargon. When selling any property, there’s a lengthy amount of documentation. It’s very important to know what you are reading and signing. While in the beginning stages of selling your home, having a trustworthy lawyer by your side for legal advice can protect you from making irreversible mistakes! When multiple buyers send prospective bids on your property, your Real Estate Attorney can send counter offers and help you to negotiate purchasing stipulations. Find out how 23 Legal can keep your move on track!
Real estate documents are complicated and binding. Real estate attorneys have spent years educating themselves about the dos and don’ts in the matters of the law…so we don’t have to. Avoid potential regrets and mistakes by equipping yourself with a trustworthy attorney that has your best interest in mind! Not sure where to start or what to ask your lawyer? Attorney Ben Weaver shares a few common questions that you may want to ask your attorney based on your situation. Read the important questions you should ask your attorney!
Hiring an attorney to help you sell your home is vital in making sure all your bases are covered and mistakes aren’t made. The tasks of the seller’s lawyer can be divided into two stages — before the contract is signed and after. Before a contract is in place, many sellers rely on their lawyer for help in drafting the terms of their sale and reviewing a listing agreement, if one is involved. The second stage is at the closing, tying up all loose ends with the buyer and their realtor.
“An experienced real estate attorney can help you understand tax problems that may occur if your home is sold at the wrong time. In addition, an experienced real estate attorney will make sure that, before signing, you understand all legal agreements related to the sale of your home.” The Illinois State Bar Association
Bonus: A real estate attorney such as Ben can even go to the closing as your proxy if you aren’t comfortable with being in public during the pandemic. These are just some of the many ways an attorney like Ben Weaver can guide you throughout the selling process. Learn more about how 23 Legal can guide you through selling your property!
Are you selling your home while buying a new one? There are many phases and important factors that alter how the process is completed. Whether you are selling before you buy, or buying before selling, dual real estate transactions have complexities that require the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney. Here’s how you can avoid making mistakes and ensure a smooth, successful experience for everyone!