Listing a Home For Sale Now, Rather Than Spring

Listing a home for sale now, rather than spring

I've been having conversation with other agents, clients and noticing a few blog posts on AR on this subject.  Traditionally it has been sound advice to list your home in the spring, when the days are getting longer, the flowers are blooming and everyone else is doing it.  In an appreciating market, or even a flat market, this can still be sound advice. 

Currently most of the country is still seeing declining values and there is a mysterious shadow inventory waiting to appear.  This shadow inventory is the yet to be foreclosed upon homes whose owners are still hoping for a loan modification or just holding out.  Housing, being a supply and demand commodity like fruits or vegetables will change in value as it becomes more or less available.  Cherries are always cheaper in season than out, if you can get them. 

Let's make some assumptions.  The home you would like to sell is currently worth $500,000.  The median value for housing in the area has declined 6% in the past 12 months and that trend is continuing.  If the average time on the market is 90-120 days for similar homes, and you were to wait 3 months to enter the market, with a .5% average monthly decline, your home will be worth $485,000 by the time you get an offer. 

Now, how will interest rates impact this situation?  Current rates for a purchase of this house as of this writing would be 4.75 (4.854% APR with 20% down).  The payment for $400,000 financed at this rate, principle & interest is $2086.59 on a 30 year conventional mortgage. 

At the reduced price of $485,000 the payment should be less, right?  Well, it really depends on what happens to rates.  Most of the "experts" I hear from assume rates will have to go up to fight inflation after the first of the year.  While this is uncertain, I find it more plausible than rates going any lower.  Even at the lower price, if the rate were to go up to 5.5% (5.610 APR), still a historically great rate, the payment would be higher, $2203.02, or $116.43 more per month.

To get the same payment at 5.5% interest, with 20% down, the home price would have to be all the way down around $425,000.  That would be $75,000 off!

A higher rate and higher payment means less affordability, fewer potential buyers will qualify. 

Okay, enough with the math.  What about the intangibles?  Historically winter shoppers are more serious shoppers.  Weather, holiday shopping, parties and events are huge diversion for people this time of year.  Those who don't need to shop for a home find plenty of other activities to spend time on. 

Holiday decorations, when tastefully done, along with a fire in the fireplace and holiday baking can add an emotional appeal hard to match.  Take advantage of these bonus opportunities to show your house off and draw in a serious buyer. 

A few notes of caution should also be considered.  Valuables, especially presents can be tempting to those who have no holiday cheer in them.  Always keep things secure and only allow licensed agents to show your home.  If a stranger sees your sign in the yard and wants a tour, call your agent.  They will either drop what they are doing or arrange a time with the prospective buyer once they have properly qualified them.   

So, be a contrarian and come out ahead.  List a home now, not this spring, take advantage of all that is available to help you sell for more; low rates, tax credits, emotional appeals and more serious shoppers.


Did you like this post?  Do you know someone else who might?  Do you know anyone who might benefit from our services?  Please pass this along to family or friends or contact us, we love to help.

Dan Tabit       206-310-8629    425-868-SOLD(7653)

One stop Real Estate & Mortgage Services Serving Sammamish, Issaquah, Redmond, Bellevue, Mercer Island and the greater Seattle area.  

Comment balloon 9 commentsDan Tabit • November 19 2009 01:03AM
Listing a Home For Sale Now, Rather Than Spring
Listing a home for sale now, rather than spring I've been having conversation with other agents, clients and noticing a few blog posts on AR on this subject. Traditionally it has been sound advice to list your home in the spring, when the… more
Wordless Wednesday, Ocean Sunset
The ocean in the fall and winter can be spectacular. Storms buffet the beaches with high winds and occasionally horizontal rains. It was March in Long Beach Washington when we took a family outing and enjoyed the pounding of the grey seas… more
Rats Coming Out of the Sewer into Homes
Rats Coming Out of the Sewer into Homes. In a previous post I referenced a KOMO 4 news story about rats entering vacant and foreclosed homes. I was watching the news again last night and saw another story which really gave me the shivers. &… more
Million Dollar Mobile Home?
Million Dollar Mobile Home? Yes! I was out doing our normal Tuesday Tour of Brokers Open houses and stumbled upon something which surprised me. A double wide mobile home on the market for over a million dollars, in fact it's $1, 250, 000 to be… more
Rats, Taking Up Residence.
Rats are taking up residence. According to KOMO 4 News Seattle's ABC Affiliate, Rats are taking up residence in vacant and foreclosed homes. According to KOMO's Problem Solvers, to reduce the likelihood of a rat infestation in your vacant… more
Silent Sunday, Sunset over Rainier
For our 25th anniversary, Elsie & I took a few days without kids and enjoyed spending time all around Mt. Rainier. On this occasion, we had been up at the Paradise Visitors Center as the sun was fading. The sky began to change hues and… more
What's the Blue Book on my Home?
What's the Blue Book on my Home? We've all been in social situations where we're talking to someone we just met and you mention you sell real estate. What's my home worth; it's a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, built in 1995, yada yada yada. I'm always… more
Going after Big Bucks, I took the shot… Less Words Wednesday…
Driving to look at some Brokers Open House's with my wife last week, this big fellow bounded across the road in front of us. We see deer on a daily basis but this one really impressed us, he was majestic. I asked for my camera as we pulled… more
Wordless Wednesday, It may be fall now, but spring will return
As we've gone through the downturn in the economy, many of our colleagues and friends have left this profession for another. For those of us who have hung in, put into practice the things that we know will work, we will emerge and bloom just… more
Silent Sunday, Medium Buck in the yard, Sammamish WA
Young Buck more