What was once considered a winding down period for the year’s home sales, has become housing’s second wind. Autumn is not only a time when the leaves start falling, but it also has become a target selling season for home sellers who miss the spring market. It is also a second chance for those who could not sell their home earlier in the year. In fact, the fall has been a very active, busy season four of the last five years.
The general consensus for this phenomenon is that home sale inventory is low. But the truth is that the fall tends to be when home sale inventory begins to decrease anyway. Many home sellers who did not sell their home during the spring or summer will be pulling their homes off the market. Sure, new listings are available during the fall, but not as many as there were in the spring. Fall is a time for homebuyers and sellers to strike while the iron is hot. The combination of fewer listings along with serious homebuyers and sellers makes the fall housing market a brisk selling time.
This year may be different, however. Existing home sales have declined year-to-date (compared to last year). The National Association of Realtors reported that as of June, existing home sales are about 2.2% behind last year’s sales. Year-to-date Montgomery County home sales are 2.1% below last year’s sales. This decline actually started last fall. The home sale drop-off stifled what could have been a record year for 2018 home sales.
If you’re selling a home this fall, keep an eye on neighborhood home sales. Setting a reasonable list price will be key to getting your home sold. Keep in mind that although home sale prices continue to climb, monthly appreciation is slowing. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index (spindices.com) reported a year-to-date nationwide 2.29% increase.
You get a sense of the magnitude of decelerating appreciation when compared to 2018’s increase of 4.55% and 2017’s increase of 6.24% nationwide. The year-to-date Montgomery County average home sale price is about $554,932, which is only an increase of 1.2% from the same time last year (MarketStats by ShowingTime).
Overpricing your home can be a disastrous mistake during the fall market. Do not be greedy, and be prepared to adjust your pricing strategy. There are many storms brewing that can easily scare home buyers. If the list price is too high, you may end up with low ball offers because of a protracted time in the MLS.
Although having less competition makes it a good time to sell your home, it can also be challenging. Fall weather can be significantly different day to day. Be prepared to adjust the thermostat. Make sure your HVAC system gets a fall service so it will be ready for colder temps.
Do not forget to keep up with your home’s curb appeal. Although you may want to get lazy about maintaining your lawn, do not let it grow too high. Also, remove excessive leaves from the ground too, as this can also diminish your home’s curb appeal.
Make accommodations for homebuyers to visit your home. Many homebuyers will probably schedule tours after work, when it will be getting dark. Open houses are still a good option for a fall home sale. Turnout may be scant, but fall open house visitors are more likely to buy.
Dan Krell is a Realtor® with RE/MAX Success in Potomac, MD. You can access more information at www.DanKrell.com