Feeling hot, hot, hot: it’s a catchy dance tune often played at weddings as friends and relatives shimmy across the floor in a lively conga line, but it’s also an incredibly apt descriptor for the current housing market.
Extremely low interest rates, coupled with a historically low supply. has led to steep increases in demand – and prices – for available properties in recent months. Reports for the nine-county Chicago area, including Lombard and Elmhurst, indicate sales were up 18% in January and February over the same time period last year, accompanied by a 15% jump in the median sales price. Property owners are seeing lines of potential buyers at open houses and receiving multiple bids shortly after a home is listed; last month 42% of homes sold for more than their asking price, a full 16 percentage points higher than the previous year.
With properties changing hands in an average of 20 days versus the typical 60, an increasing number of homebuyers are willing to take the plunge sight unseen on these blink-and-you-miss-out hotcakes. According to home listing website Redfin, nearly two-thirds of homebuyers in December 2020 made an offer on a property without having seen it in person, compared with just under half of buyers in June 2020 and less than one-third of buyers in November 2019. Redfin also reported a tenfold increase in the number of requests for virtual tours, and a whopping 563% increase in 3D virtual walk-throughs on their site since last winter.
All of these factors have certainly created an ideal situation for anyone looking to sell their home and take the next step on their life path – from young families in need of more space or a bigger home office for remote work, to couples who want to simplify and enrich their lives by moving to a vibrant, amenity-laden retirement community like Lexington Square in Lombard or Elmhurst.
Sellers’ workshops – like the one Lexington Squares will host later this month – offer opportunities to gain valuable information and ask scenario-specific questions, and experts also offer a wealth of tips online for homeowners looking to take advantage of the robust sellers’ market. Here are a few of their suggestions:
- Make a good impression by cleaning your house top to bottom. Buyers are willing to overlook some flaws due to low property inventory, but they still don’t want to have future chores on their mind when they’re contemplating their offer.
- Ensure your home is priced to sell – not so high that you have to adjust it downward to get offers, but not so low that you end up getting less than you could have.
- Stage your home so potential buyers can easily envision themselves making the space their own. This includes removing clutter and personal items; ensuring each room showcases one clear function such as home office or bedroom; and sprucing up your landscaping for maximum curb appeal. You may also want to suffuse your space with a pleasant scent with positive associations, like lemon or vanilla, prior to in-person showings.
- With so many people shopping for their homes online, make sure the photos and videos in your listing paint your home in the best possible light.
- Be ready to move within 30 days of receiving an offer – and be prepared to receive an offer quickly upon listing your home.
If looking ahead to the next phase of your life has you thinking of listing your current home for sale, there truly may be no time like the present to walk through that door.