This blog post focuses on summer real estate tips. Why summer? Well, for a few reasons.
One, each real estate season is unique. That means that winter real estate is different from spring real estate, which is different from summer real estate? And, two, summer tends to be a season for both buying and selling a home. Therefore, I want to offer you tips on both.
Summer Real Estate Tips: Selling a Home
Why is summer such a great time to sell a home? Well, if you live in a family-friendly area, then real estate is likely booming during this time.
That’s because parents with children want to get settled in a new home before the school year begins. This is true whether you live in a place where school starts at the end of July or August, or the beginning of September.
Of course, 2020 and 2021 have brought unique challenges to the real estate market. So many people want to buy homes in desirable areas, and not enough people are selling. Therefore, there is reduced inventory and lots of bidding wars.
See my post on tips to win a real estate bidding war.
Tips on selling during summer
So, what are some of the uniquely summer things that you can do to prepare your home to sell? Here are some house showing and staging tips that you should keep in mind when selling a summer real estate market.
Make curb appeal top of mind
As I wrote in my blog post about improving curb appeal on the cheap, how your home looks from the outside can be the difference between a buyer booking a showing and driving right by. So, in summer, you have to pay extra attention to curb appeal.
Here are some tasks you’ll have to attend to regularly.
1. Keeping lawn mowed.
2. Weeding gardens.
3. Pruning bushes and flowers.
4. Sweeping porch, walk and driveway.
5. Clearing away cobwebs.
6. Replacing burned out exterior lights.
7. Maintaining your mailbox.
8. Putting away summer accessories, toys and bicycles.
9. Store trashcans out of sight.
10. Freshening mulch in gardens as necessary.
Highlight your outdoor living space
During warm-weather months, it’s natural for homebuyers to imagine themselves spending time outdoors. If you have a backyard that’s perfect for entertaining, play it up.
Make sure your outdoor living space includes everything a buyer would want in the ideal backyard:
2. Patio furniture
4. Lounge chairs or Adirondack chairs
5. Fire pit
6. Patio or deck
7. Well-kept lawn
Address home repairs before listing your home
One of the benefits of selling a home in winter, in a colder climate, is the snow. What do I mean by that? Well, the snow can cover up lots of cosmetic issues with a home.
For example, if your roof needs work done, snow on the roof won’t show how old your shingles are. Additionally, if your yard hasn’t been worked on in months, a layer of snow will cover this up. In some ways selling your home in winter–and the way the snow can help minimize curb appeal work–makes things easier.
However, the flipside of that is that if you’ve put off repairs, you definitely need to address them before listing your home. So fix the gutters, repair the roof, replace your front walk or get all of these home improvements out of the way before the hot summer real estate season hits.
Here’s what you need to know about selling a home in winter.
Get your HVAC system serviced before showings start
Most people expect a home to be air conditioned in the summer. This is true whether you have window units, central forced air or mini-split heat pumps that double as air conditioners.
So, come hotter weather and home showings, you want to be sure that your HVAC system can keep your home cool. If it’s been a long time since they’ve been serviced, get a technician in for any tune-ups. That way you can feel confident that the temperature inside your home is comfortable during showings and open houses.
Summer real estate staging tips
While every home should be professional stages for selling, it’s important that the staging reflects the season. So, when staging a home to selling in spring and summer, keep spring and summer “images” in mind.
What might appeal to homebuyers based on that season? For example, if you’re selling a home with a pool, you may want to have colorful beach towels and plastic drinkware staged outside in the backyard.
Fresh flowers are abundant during spring and summer. So make sure you have them in vases throughout your home.
If you live near the beach, you may want to decorate with beach-themed items. When we were selling our home at the Jersey Shore, some of our staging props included a book on lighthouses, glass jars full of shells and new doormats that said things like “Life is Better at the Beach.”
Prepare your family for the interruptions
There are two big, family-related challenges of selling a home in the summer. One, kids are usually home from school. More time and home means more messes. So, keeping the house show-ready in summer can be more difficult.
Two, if you’re planning a vacation, you may find your time away interrupted with calls, texts or messages from your real estate agent. In fact, if your home gets offers during your absence, you may have to pause your vacation to deal with all of that.
Lots of competition in the summer
Another challenge with selling your home in the summer is you won’t be the only one with this idea. In other words, you’ll have lots of competition in the summer real estate market.
Therefore, it’s more important than ever to price your home correctly. Right now, prices are going through the roof. So you could end up getting offers over your asking.
However, at the same time you want to price your home reasonably. You don’t want to start too high and scare off sellers and have it sit for sale for too long. Because the longer a home is for sale in a hot market, the more likely buyers are going to ask, “What’s wrong with this home” and “Why hasn’t it sold yet?”
Summer Real Estate Tips: Buying a Home
Why is house hunting in summer a good idea? Well, you may have vacation time from work to look for homes. Also, you can spend more time outdoors, getting to “know” your new neighborhood in town.
When you’re out in the area where you want to buy, chances are your new neighbors will be out, too. You’ll get a sense of who lives there, how active people are in keeping up their yards and just how bustling (or not) your neighborhood really is.
Finally, there’s another big reason that many families want to buy a home in the summer. It is so they can get settled before school begins.
Challenges when buying a home in the summer
I’m not going to gloss over the challenges that come with summer real estate. Primarily, the biggest challenge is the increased competition. For all the reasons I mentioned above, you’re likely to be competing with more buyers for homes during summer. This means you could find yourself in a bidding war that you don’t want to get into.
Another challenge in buying during the summer? If you’re looking at an area with a popular summer rental market or local attractions, you could be dealing with traffic and crowds you didn’t expect.
Summer rentals could suppress showings
Additionally, if you’re hoping to buy in a summer rental market location, you may find fewer homes available to visit. I’ve lived in three places where people rent out their homes in the summer for extra income. For this reason you’ll actually find fewer homes for sale in the summer.
So if you’re hoping to live in a vacation area or popular summer destination, here is my biggest summer real estate tip: don’t look at buying there during high season. If you can wait until fall–when renters go home and kids go back to school–you’ll likely have an easier time finding homes for sale that you can actually visit.
According to the National Association of Realtors, summer 2020 turned out to be a hot real estate market. All indicators point to the same for 2021.