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Spring selling season is upon us. If you’re ready to make your business soar this spring, pay close attention to the best times for sellers to list their homes as well as when you need to double down on holding open houses.
The first step in taking advantage of spring selling season is to address how to obtain more traffic on your existing listings. Here’s what you should do:
Update your photos
How many times have you seen a listing photo where the home is still wearing its winter rather than its spring photos? If you haven’t done so already, as soon as your area makes the transition to flowers and trees in bloom, take new listing photos.
Maximize the effect by having the sellers plant spring flowers in the front yard or you could drop off pots of flowers to freshen the look at the front door.
Another strategy is to take photos from different a different perspective from your first set of listing photos. The goal is to make the listing photos as different as possible from how they originally appeared on the MLS.
If you haven’t done so already, another terrific strategy is to take twilight photos. Also, work with the photographer to make sure you have the best possible angle for every one of your listing photos.
My last house didn’t look great from a straight on view during the day so we had to position the house to the side to make it fit. You can see the difference in the two shots below.
Change the price
To get the most from re-shooting your listing photos, go for a price reduction as well. Taking new photos and reducing the price, greatly increases the probability of getting more showings.
Now, this may sound a bit weird, but assuming your listing is priced right, there may be is a case for raising the price. Because most people today search for listings on their mobile devices, you may want to increase your price if your listing is a few thousand dollars under the incremental price parameters that exist on mobile.
For example, a property priced at $299,000 would probably benefit from increasing the price to $300,000. Here’s why: When buyers search on realtor.com, the increments are $275,000, $300,000 and $350,000.
In this case, the price increase opens up all those searches from $300,000 to $350,000 that your sellers were missing before. Needless to say, this is a much easier conversation than asking for a price reduction.
Hold themed open houses
Spring has plenty of options for themed open houses. You could do a Cinco de Mayo theme with guacamole, chips and mini-tacos, a graduation theme with a cake celebrating the Class of ’18, or a Memorial Day theme with hot dogs, chips and soft drinks.
Visit a local party store for plates, napkins and other fun items to enhance your theme. Invite neighbors to “join the celebration.”
The biggest question: When is the best time to list my home?
Zillow has a powerful tool that tracks the best time periods for sellers to net the most money from their sale. (Conversely, this is the time when buyers will pay the highest prices of the year.)
Zillow’s research shows that homes listed in what it calls the “magic window” time period, sell approximately one to three weeks faster than if they were listed any other time of the year.
Furthermore, they also sell for a higher price. For example, Dallas residents will net an extra $2,400 above the average sales price if they list during the first two weeks of May. Listing during the first week in March, garners only an additional $800 while listing during the second half of December means they will net $4,300 less than average. The total difference is $6,700 between May and December.
In contrast, Phoenix sellers net the most if they list during the first half of February ($1,300) or during April ($1,400 during the first half and $1,700 the second half). In May through December, the average prices dip into negative territory and do not become positive until January, the beginning of their “snowbird” season.
What’s the best day to list your home?
Zillow’s data suggests that Saturday is the best day to list your house, but its data is based upon when Zillow page views are greatest. Zillow generally doesn’t receive the listing data until it has been loaded into the MLS. Because listings are generally not uploaded to the MLS on weekends, Friday is the best day.
The beauty of listing on Friday is that your listing can be available for open houses on both Saturday and Sunday.
Be aggressive about holding open houses the first two weeks of your listings
Zillow’s page view information confirms what is known as the “honeymoon chart.” This notion is over 50 years old, but it’s still true today: the maximum amount of interest, page views and showings will take place during the first two weeks the property is listed.
After that time period, showings and page views across all marketing platforms drop dramatically.
The reason is that all the buyers who have been unable to find the right property will see the listing early on during the listing period. After this time, showings drop because the activity is primarily limited to new buyers coming into the marketplace.
Consequently, when you take a listing, consider doing weekday and Saturday open houses during the first two weeks to maximize traffic.
Also keep in mind that with the longer days, twilight open houses with some fun refreshment can garner visitors that you wouldn’t get on the weekend.
When is the best time for buyers to purchase?
Zillow also has a chart that lets buyers know which months are the best in terms of how many listings are on the market. In Dallas, the best months for buyers in terms of the number of listings on the market are June, July and December, while in Phoenix it’s March and April.
If you want to have a highly successful spring selling season, update those photos, change-up the price to match the market, and check out the charts from Zillow that show you the optimal time to have your sellers put their homes on the market.
Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP (brokerageup.com) and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.