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Here’s some advice for summertime relocation sellers

May 19, 2019

Summer is almost here, and that can be a very busy time for the Houston real estate market. It can also be a very busy time for people who are relocating to and from Houston.

For those who are moving away and have a home to sell, this can mean added stress as they try to get their home ready to go on the market.

So, what are some of the main things that they should know and focus on as they prepare their home to be shown to potential buyers?

According to Lauren Walker, a Realtor with Beth Wolff Realtors Real Living, there are some small improvements that sellers should do before going on the market that can really make a difference in how well the home will show.

“Generally, the basics are just touching up the paint on the walls and getting rid of some of the scuff marks that they may have,” explained Walker. “Then, I would suggest that they freshen up the landscaping outside, and maybe add some color.”

She added, “Also, depending on the client’s needs, one of the things that we can do is bring home stagers in to help the seller move their stuff around, and decide whether they should put some of their things away or box them stuff up. And, if we need to, we can fully stage the home.”

Although people tend to pack up many of their belongings when they know they are moving, Walker said that she wouldn’t recommend filling a room or a garage full of boxes. This can be distracting and make it difficult for people who are viewing the home to be able to visualize the space. In fact, it can give the appearance that a room is smaller than it actually is.

Depending on the number of boxes and other items that might make the home look a bit crowded, Walker said that renting a storage unit can be a great alternative.

As far as depersonalizing the home and removing family photos from the walls, she said that in most cases she doesn’t think that is necessary.

“I’m not really big on telling people to depersonalize, because I don’t think that family photos are necessarily a negative thing. A buyer might find something that they can relate to in those photos, like being able to see themselves living in the home,” said Walker.

Since summertime typically means that more homes will be going on the market as people try to move and get settled before the start of the new school year, Walker said that pricing is important.

In areas with more competition in the market, sellers might have to be more aggressive with the pricing of their home. This is especially true of relocation sellers, since they generally have a relatively short timeframe in which to sell their home and get moved.

Being more aggressive with the pricing might also be necessary in areas where there are new homes being built that are fairly comparable to the one being sold. This is because it can be somewhat difficult for a resale property to compete with new construction and builder incentives that might be offered.

But at the same time, Walker pointed out that there tends to be more buyers in the market during the summer. This might mean an uptick in the number of buyers looking at a particular home.

“Generally, spring and summer are busy times, and the relocation activity definitely starts to pick up during the summer. As we get closer to the start of the school year, more people will be moved and where they need to go. Then, in August, showings will start to slow down a little bit,” Walker said.

As a listing agent, she said that there are some things that can be done to help reduce the seller’s stress level, while managing their expectations throughout the home selling process.

For example, it can be helpful for the listing agent to try and get as much advance notice as possible before each showing of the property.

“If a seller gets a call an hour before someone wants to see the house, it can add more stress, so we try to get a bit more time when possible,” Walker said. “Moving can be a stressful process, and so I think just working closely with the sellers and making sure that they are comfortable with everything is the biggest part of making it less stressful.”

Michelle Sandlin is an award-winning writer, journalist and global mobility industry expert. Follow her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheMichelleSandlin and on Twitter: @MichelleSandlin. Also visit “On the Move” at blog.chron.com/onthemove.

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