For Kevin McLoughlin, these past few summers have been his busiest time of year.
The realtor, for Core Assets Real Estate, finds that during the warmer months people have more time on their hands. And, despite summer’s reputation as a slow season for real estate, McLoughlin says that those that stay in town can be very active during the traditionally slow season.
As a result, Mcloughlin firmly believes that when marketed, staged and priced properly, there's little that can stop a home from selling even during the slowest seasons. With that in mind, we felt that Kevin is the perfect person to answer this week’s question.
What advice do you have for clients who are trying to sell during slow seasons, like the summer?
Toronto is a market where people are conditioned to sell their homes during the hot times of the year: spring and fall. The market does slow down as we head into summer, but it isn’t as slow (and prices aren’t as low) in the summer as they are in January.
Of course, people do go on vacation during the summer, but not everybody does. In fact, there are some buyers out there with more flexible schedules. I’ve personally found that there are plenty of buyers who are just starting their search for a home in the summertime. You also have a healthy mix of individuals who didn’t find the right house or got outbid during the busy spring selling season. I find summer really can be a good time to sell your home, even though it’s considered the slower off-season.
As far as what you need to do if you’re selling during down seasons, what I always recommend is to hire an expert real estate agent, so you can set yourself up for success and maximize the return on your home in a slower season.
It’s important to hire an expert because when you’re looking at selling your home in the summer, you really want to make sure you’re showcasing the home’s summer best. Curb appeal and backyard staging really do draw buyers in. I really want to make sure that buyers are seeing the home and envisioning themselves living in it, so outdoor space is a huge selling point in the summertime. Working with stagers is the best way to go, but if you’re not, you want to make sure you’re spending a little bit of money on that summer decor. This may mean a nice bistro table and chairs in the backyard or on the deck, getting rid of the old and drab colours. Bringing in some lighter, more summer-y type stuff: wooden benches, flower pots near your walkways and some outdoor lighting for those late summer nights.
When you’re selling a home in the summer, little things count for a lot. You don’t want to skimp on or go overboard with the air conditioning. Make sure your home is not hot and stuffy so people don't rush through. You also want to make sure people aren’t taking their time in it and it’s not too cold as well. If you’ve already moved, make sure you have it timed so it stays cool at the best possible time. Obviously, in the summer the days are longer so you need to take that into consideration. You also want to make sure you’re maintaining the property and watering the heck out of your lawn.
For families, make sure you have everything planned to get your family out of the house during showings. Kids are out of school so it can be tricky to manage and you want to come up with a plan: sitters, playdates or signing your kids up for camp are all good options.
For marketing purposes, one of the things we’ve done in the past, especially if it’s a higher-end type home with a large backyard that’s great for entertaining, is throw a party where the backyard is lit up in the evening when it’s getting darker. It can look really appealing at dusk when you’re having people through to really use the backyard and show off that outdoor space.
When we’re marketing to individuals who are looking for homes in the summertime through social media, it comes down to using the proper keywords to actually attract people. Something like, “Around in the summer and looking for a home?” or “Did you miss out on buying season in the spring?” It’s about getting creative and making sure you’re actually coming up with the proper things to get people to click on the ads you have for the home.
One important thing to keep in mind is that a lot of contractors are going to be pretty booked up if you're trying to drastically improve your landscaping in the dead of summer. All the more reason to work with a qualified expert realtor who has a network of individuals they work with on a regular basis, so you actually can get that work done at the best time of year to do it.
Remember people are more inclined to want to move in the summer, so they’ll be looking to buy homes with a relatively short closing time so they can get into a home before school starts, which may work to your advantage as a seller. Just because summer is a slower season, you don’t have to list at a lower asking price. Of course, you may have a different strategy based on market demand, but generally, in the summer you just need to be patient and ready to negotiate. Still, just like any time of year, it’s important that the home is priced appropriately and properly and that doesn’t mean lowering the price as a matter of course.
The summer is a great time for selling and if the price is right, your home shows well and is marketed properly -- it will sell, no matter the season.