When you find yourself in a maybe-I-should-list-now or maybe-it’s-better-to-wait standoff, the latter is the decision that usually wins out. The reason is what the high school science teachers told us was “momentum.” When ‘list now’ and ‘list later’ signals are equally compelling, the roll-up-your-sleeves positive energy that’s so useful when you finally do put your house on the market is usually absent. The science teacher would call it a ‘body at rest’ stage. It will take an infusion of energy to get things moving.
When that’s the case, it’s possible to make the most of the situation. Rather than just being vaguely uneasy that moving onto a new residential chapter is stalled for the moment, this could be an opportunity to make the most of the moment. It can even mark the first glimmer of what will later become the energetic campaign that results in the sale of your house. The way to think of this period is as a gift — a gift of time. This is a chance you can profitably use to improve your property without having to jam it into a few hectic weeks.
When many sellers ultimately decide it’s time to list, they take it as the opening gun in the selling campaign. Among other things, they get busy putting the finishing touches on the areas in their property that they always realized would need to be brought up to showing condition. And all too often, those finishing touches turn out to require the skills of our local professionals, whose services are scheduled in advance (increasingly nowadays, long in advance!). The result is either a delayed listing or showings where renovations are actively underway (not the choicest way to present a property).
Even when you take advantage of this gift and pull off some imaginative renewal (which can wind up being more like an ‘upgrade’) just as the listing goes online, the proud owner often has the forehead-smacking realization, “why didn’t I do this long ago when I could have enjoyed living here more?” When, eventually, your house goes on the market, having put it in top shape comfortably in advance can work out to be the best approach.