Ah, summer! It’s a time for pool parties, beach vacations, graduations, and backyard barbecues. It’s also a great time to sell a house. In fact, May through July home sales are traditionally hot, with homes often selling for more than 10 percent above market value. But along with the benefits of selling your home during the summer, there are some challenges. If you’re considering listing your home this summer, here’s what you need to know so you don’t get burned.
The Benefits of Listing a Home in the Summer
The biggest benefit to listing in summer is obvious — having more potential buyers looking for homes often results in a higher sale price. But there’s another benefit: summer buyers are often time restricted. These buyers usually need to find a home before school starts in the fall, so they’re highly motivated. Also, since the weather is pleasant, buyers are out looking more, and they’re more willing to attend open houses. The days are longer in the summer, making it easier for buyers who work during the day to see homes in the evening.
Because the days are longer and the sun is usually shining, your house will look better in the summer than any other time of the year — especially if you keep up with the landscaping. Buyers are often looking for a light, bright house, so keep those curtains and blinds open so all that sunshine can bathe your home in a summertime glow.
Summer is a great time to go on vacation, which could make showing your house easier for you and your real estate agent. Get your house show-ready before you leave and notify your agent that you’ll be away. This will give your agent a chance to show your home freely, and you won’t have to worry about constantly cleaning in preparation for showings.
If you need to buy a new home in addition to selling your current home, summer is the best time to do this since so many houses are on the market. You should be able to not only find a buyer quickly but find a new home quickly as well.
The Drawbacks of Selling Your House During Summer
Since summer is the most popular time of the year to move, it’s the time most sellers choose to put their homes on the market. So, while there are more potential buyers in the summer, there are also more houses available, which could translate into more competition. If you happen to live in a buyer’s market, this could make selling more challenging.
Summer temperatures often soar into sweltering, making it much more difficult to keep up with the necessary yard work like mowing and weeding, which are vital for curb appeal. Depending on where you live, humidity might add an extra layer of unpleasantness. Also, while it may be scorching outside, you’ll want your house to be cool and comfortable — which means keeping that air conditioning cranking, potentially resulting in higher electric bills.
School is out, which is one of the main reasons buyers are house hunting more during the summer. But if you have children, having them home all day while trying to keep the house in show-ready condition might be tricky. Getting out of the house for a showing when kids are involved could be more of a challenge, as well.
Since real estate sizzles in the summer, real estate agents and other industry professionals are busy. It might take a little longer to find the right agent, hire an inspector, or get home repairs done.
Summer Considerations for Home Sellers
After thinking through the pros and cons, you want to sell your home in the summer. The following tips could help make the process a little bit easier so you can keep your cool instead of singing the summertime blues.
Do yard work early in the morning or late in the evening.
Mowing, pulling weeds, and planting flowers will be much easier when you save it for the coolest times of the day. Break it up over the week so you’re only focused on one thing instead of trying to do everything at once. If landscaping still feels like a herculean task, bring it down to size by filling a planter or two with bright flowers. This will add an inviting pop of color to the front of your home without a ton of effort. In fact, many nurseries and hardware stores sell these already made so all you need to do is water them.
Keep an eye out for pests.
One of the perks of the colder winter months is fewer creepy crawlies. When the temperature starts to rise, little scuttling friends come out to play, often finding their way into our homes. You don’t want potential buyers walking in and finding ants, flies, or roaches, so if you haven’t had your home checked for pests lately, now is a good time to call the pest control company. Also, don’t do anything that might attract pests, like keeping a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter or leaving cookies out for potential buyers. You could find fruit flies or sugar ants also enjoying your tasty treats.
Get your air conditioner checked out.
The last thing you want is for the air conditioner to give out right before a showing. Make sure your AC unit is in optimal condition and have your air ducts cleaned and the filters changed, as well.
Relocate your trash bins.
What’s the first thing you want potential buyers to smell when they arrive at your home? Fresh air and blooming flowers? The tempting aroma of freshly baked treats? Whatever it is, it probably isn’t the wafting scent of warm, stinky garbage. Trash bin odors are much more pervasive during the summer months, so try to keep your bins out of the sun and far from the entrances to your home. Don’t discard notoriously smelly items like fish or raw meat until trash day, and make sure the lids on your bins are tightly closed.
Highlight outdoor features.
Being outdoors will be on the minds of potential buyers since it’s summer. They’ll be noticing outdoor living spaces much more than they would any other time of year, so make the most of your back yard, deck, patio, firepit, or pool. Make sure these areas are clean by dusting or power-washing, then arrange your outdoor furniture in an inviting way. Make the space more welcoming with accent pillows, artwork, colorful plants, or an area rug. Remember to keep colors neutral so the buyers can imagine themselves enjoying the space.
Add some summer refreshments.
It’s hot, and your potential buyers might be parched. If they’re busy thinking about how thirsty they are, they’re not focused on your home. Before a showing, arrange a tray with bottled water or a pitcher of lemonade. If you include treats on the tray, make sure they are covered (see the section about pests above).
Declutter your home.
Even if you’ve already gone through your home and removed some items, do this again. Aim to give your space a bright, airy feeling by getting rid of unnecessary throw blankets, pillows, or other remnants of cooler temperatures.
Price your home right.
Talk to your real estate agent about the best listing price. Some sellers believe that since summer is such a busy time for real estate, they can price their homes high and negotiate the price down, if necessary. But a house that’s priced well above comparable homes in the area may remain on the market well into late summer or early fall. If that happens, it’s less likely to sell. A home that sits on the market too long will make buyers, and even some agents, wonder what’s wrong with the house. In the end, not pricing the house right from the beginning could end up costing you money.
It’s summertime, and the selling is easy! Well, at least it will be if you plan ahead and keep the tips above in mind. Now, go make a splash with your summer-ready home. If you need more tips about selling your house, be sure to check out our home selling how-to section.