We are officially in the thick of the housing season – and in the real estate world, this is housing’s peak season. If you’re one of the millions of Americans hoping to sell in the summer, capitalizing on red-hot market activity, there’s a lot to know.
Here are the seven most important things to know if you’re looking to take advantage of real estate’s most sizzling season:
Busiest Month of the Year
Nationally, the volume of home sales in June is typically 29% above the annual average, according to Trulia. In July and August, inventory keeps climbing as some sellers miss the sales peak. Homebuyers begin their search in March and April, but they really get down to business after Memorial Day. The peak in June and July sales reflects the fact that many people want to move in summer when school’s out and the weather’s good. In fact, more buyers are ready to close deals in the summer than any other time of the year. So get your house ready and on the market now, and take advance of the surge in activity.
Mortgage Qualifications Loosening
Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac have just announced that they’re loosening some bank lending rules. Accordingly, in April, Wells Fargo & Co., the biggest U.S. home lender, cut its minimum credit score for borrowers of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-backed loans from 660 to 620, following similar moves from smaller banks. Thus, there may be a bit more qualifying flexibility for hopeful homebuyers come end of the summer.
Interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose from a record low of 3.31 percent in November 2012 to 4.58 percent in late August. But optimistically, rates fell last week to 4.21 percent. And falling rates are just another incentive for those summer homebuyers.
Push The Inside Out
Now that the weather is heating up and you’re spending more time outdoors, use it to your selling advantage. Living space is not defined by the interior walls of your home; it actually extends all the way to the sidewalk in front to the property line in back. And whether you have a modest balcony or a big backyard, you’ll want to push the inside out. Make your outdoor space inviting with a cozy seating area or dining table, complete with attractive place settings. Stage you barbeque area with a nice set of tools and mitts next to the grill. Or if you have a pool, include rolled white towels and a terry cloth bathrobe draped by a Jacuzzi. Be creative. I have seen a backyard staged with a croquet set as if there were a game in progress. These little touches makes people think “I should live here!”
Keep It Green and Flowery
The hot days of summer present their own challenges and opportunities for curb appeal. You want to make sure the lawns are well watered and green. Grass and shrubs dry out quickly, and nothing is more uninviting than a charred front yard. And as you struggle with your lawn, don’t overlook the fact that warm weather affords the opportunity to create an especially inviting front yard, with beds of colorful flowers – a must for spring and summer home sales. Not sure where to start? Keep it simple: choose one color and stick with it. And when all else fails, go with white. It’s sure to look good, and it really pops against other greenery creating a sophisticated look.
Keep It Cool
For every showing or open house, make sure that the air conditioning is working and turned on prior to any guests arriving. You want your home feel like a cool oasis in the heat of summer. In fact, it’s smart to set your thermostat a few extra degrees lower than usual to compensate for all the doors opening during prospective buyers’ comings and goings.
Summer Treats For Your Buyers
Buyers are hot and sticky after hours of getting in and out of scorching cars while battling open house crowds. You’ll want them to have a nice refreshing moment in your home, so break out the pitchers of ice water with lemons or stock the fridge full of cold drinks. It’ll go a long way in keeping interested visitors happy about spending time in your place. Remember, the longer potential buyers hang in your home, the more they become emotionally attached and want to make it their home!