Home selling tips

Timeframe to Ready Your House for Sale


It can be daunting - thinking about all you have to do to ready your house for the home-selling market and then, what’s more, the time it will take to do all that. But don’t despair…there are many people who can help you from yours truly (real estate agents) to stagers to house cleaners to handy men/women to painters and more. To make this complicated and often overwhelming subject easier to digest, I’ve split my analysis into three categories* so you can determine which category best fits you and your house:

So without further ado, here we go….

1. Homes that can be listed in a week - these are the kinds of homes that you walk into and can eat off the floor. And they are a rarity and not the norm, I might add. The owners don’t have much clutter, and the house looks basically staged upon entering it. We use the expression “lightly lived in” to describe these homes. Maybe there is some touch up painting that needs to be done and an ever so slight amount of decluttering, but that’s about it. The work - if any - is so minimal that it can be done in a day. And so the timing to get the house onto the market really has to do with scheduling the floor plan person and the photography plus getting all of the MLS details and marketing copy confirmed.

2. Homes that can be listed within a month - these homes are in need of patching and painting in areas, some decluttering and minor repairs. And the timing to take care of these to-dos is dependent on hiring people to complete the projects, which can take time. There also could be some minor staging needed to freshen the look of the house. In other words, moving some furniture out of rooms and adding staged pieces to other rooms. These types of homes are more typically what we see in our line of business. For all of this work to be done, it could take a few weeks. Once everything is completed, the house is ready for the final photography and getting it onto the market.

3. Homes that take more than a month to be listed - these homes require quite a bit of work, especially decluttering, which can be very time-consuming. These home owners have often lived there for 30+ years accruing all kinds of memorabilia, furniture, accessories, photos and more. Like the homes in Category 2, we see these types of properties quite regularly as well. In these situations, it is prudent to hire estate sale and moving process companies to help all of the items find their right landing places, whether it be to the sellers’ next home, their children, Goodwill, a consignment store or the trash. There also may be some more significant repairs that need to be addressed and those fixes can also take time.

And finally, I can’t write about the subject of readying your house for the market and not put in a plug for our very own Compass Concierge program. “Exclusive to our clients, Compass Concierge helps you sell your home faster and for more money by covering the cost of services to prepare your home for market. From staging to home improvements and more, with no hidden fees or interest charged, ever.” Click here to learn more about this amazing initiative.

With all that said, what are your thoughts on readying your home for sale? Have you found yourself in this situation, and if so, was your home in category 1, 2 or 3? Anything you learned from the home readying process? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

* Note that I created these three categories as a guideline, but in reality, there are all kinds of houses with a variety of preparation needs and timelines.

A Quiz to Help You Sell Your Home


It’s early April, we’re in the height of the Spring market, and you’ve decided that it’s time to sell your home. To help with this often-complicated and nuanced home-selling undertaking, I’ve created this quiz, which covers a variety of aspects that go hand-in-hand with the process. From pre-listing your home to showings and the post-offer timeframe, these true or false questions are designed to effectively guide you through the successful selling of your home (🤞🏻)…

  1. I should price my house so that I have negotiating room when an offer comes in. True or False?

    False. It might sound illogical, but the best way to price your home is as close to the price for which you think it will sell. And if you do, it can often result in multiple buyers jumping in with offers, which then results in your house selling quickly and for more money than if it sits on the market for days and months, and you end up “chasing the market down.” Pricing to Do’s and Not to Do’s When Selling Your Home can provide additional information on this complex topic.

  2. I should refrain from cooking fish or other foods that might smell strongly prior to showings. True or False?

    True. These strong smells can be a real turnoff to buyers. If the smells are too overpowering, the buyers won’t be able to focus on the fabulous features of your home. And the odors may be the only thing they remember about your house. Check out Smelling Your Home for more on this subject.

  3. Storing items in the garage and unfinished basement areas is better than storing items in the living areas of the house. True or False?

    True. Yes, yes, yes. Often it’s hard to get rid of all of the clutter prior to listing your home. And if this is true in your case, place the extras in the garage or basement where buyers expect to see “storage” and where it doesn’t detract from the show-ability of the living areas of your home.

  4. The first offer is always the best. True or False?

    False. Although this is most often the case (probably 95% of the time), it’s not always the case. That being said, it’s prudent to treat it like it is - and will be - the best offer you’ll see. Otherwise you very likely could be hitting yourself for not working with it.

  5. The look of my home’s exterior is very important as one never gets a second chance to make a first impression. True or False?

    True. This type of statement is pertinent and true in many aspects of our lives, and it’s especially accurate with the home selling process. Your home’s exterior is the first thing a buyer sees and is paramount to the formulation of their first impression about the property. And it’s something you can’t take back or have the chance to do over….

  6. Removing dated curtains, fabrics and painting neutral colors will help appeal to today’s buyers. True or False?

    True. These days, “dated” can translate into buyers having negative reactions to your home. First, they may not find the house visually appealing and therefore may not be able to envision themselves as the owners. Second, they may feel that the house needs more work than it actually does. And this leads to the third response, which is that they may further discount the price of your house because of the perceived work that needs to be done.

  7. Being at my home during showings will be helpful to the buyers because they can ask me pertinent questions about the property. True or False?

    False. Buyers feel uncomfortable and awkward if you are there for the showings. They want to visualize themselves in the home and have the freedom to do so during the showings. If they can’t do this because you are there, it can have a negative effect on their feelings toward your home.

  8. Having the windows, carpets and house throughly cleaned prior to listing it will help make it sparkle and will be appealing to buyers. True or False?

    True. I like to call this Staging 101, and it’s where to begin when it comes to staging. If you can’t afford the often pricey process of professionally staging your home, you will go quite a long way just by cleaning it from top to bottom. Click Appealing to the Visual Sense: Selling a Shiny, Sparkling Home to read more on this subject.

  9. If I am lucky enough to have multiple offers on my house (a.k.a., a bidding war), there will be one offer that will be the clear cut winner. True or False?

    False. Unfortunately this is rarely the case. You have to make the best decision with the limited information you have. Part of this is because choosing the right offer is about choosing the right buyer, which is next to impossible. There is no way to determine if the buyer you’ve chosen in the bidding war will ultimately go through with the purchase of your house. Even if the offer is at full asking price without any contingencies and the buyers seem excited to go through with the sale, they could eventually get cold feet and back out. You and your agent need to weigh each offer and buyer’s interest, and try to determine which offer/buyer is most likely to endure through the process to ultimately buy your home. Selling Your Home: Which Offer to Choose provides even more thoughts on this topic.

  10. The deal most often falls apart between the time of the accepted offer and the signing of the Purchase and Sale Agreement (P&S). True or False?

    True. The 10-14 days from the accepted offer to the signing of the P&S is largely when deals fall through. Most of the time it is because of the inspection. But it can also come down to the buyers having a change of heart for emotional, financial or a variety of other reasons.

How did you fare on this quiz? When you were selling your home, did you come across some of these questions and scenarios? And if you haven’t yet sold a home, I hope these questions can help guide you through the process when you ultimately do. Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments and stories…..

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

When to List Your House in the New Year?


At this time of the year - right before and after the holidays - “When should I list my house in the New Year?” is the question I hear most from sellers. And what that question really means is when is the best time for me to list my house in the New Year when I will maximize the activity of the Spring market and sell my house for the most amount of money. Of course as I always like to say, there is never an answer that is 100% right or wrong in the world of real estate, but there are some trends and behaviors upon which we can draw to come up with a best guess answer. I know that’s a bit frustrating, but there isn’t a real estate crystal ball plus we don’t know how the market is faring until we’re actually right in the middle of it. That being said, here are some things to consider about the best timing for listing your house in the New Year to try to maximize the Spring market activity and get the best price for your house.

Market Trends to Consider

  • We know that the height of the Spring market for Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns generally runs from the end of February after school vacation week through Memorial Day - and often into the first few weeks of June.

  • During this 3+ month timeframe, buyer demand is theoretically at its zenith but so are competitive listings. That being said, many sellers don’t get their homes on the market until mid-end of March into April when they’ve finally finished preparing their homes for the market; this process often takes much longer than anticipated.

  • There are definitely less competitive listings on the market in January and early-mid February, which can give your home an advantage in the market all things considered*.

Buyer Behaviors

  • Buyer demand can be strong at the start of a New Year when there is still pent-up demand from those who didn’t buy in the prior Fall market. These buyers will hit the ground running and will be ready to act when they see the right home. But others will want to wait “to see what else comes on the market.”

  • External factors, such as upticks in the interest rates, volatility in the stock market, a downturn in consumer confidence/the economy among other things, can cause buyers to hold back on home buying.

  • Some buyers would rather buy now when they know the state of these external factors rather than wait to buy when these external factors could be better but also could be worse.

  • Weather can also affect home buying behavior. If there are mounds and mounds of snow and ice on the ground, buyers are less interested in going out to tour - and therefore ultimately buy - homes. Not to mention that buyers can’t see the land/yard they are buying when it is covered in snow - another disincentive to buy.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line that I’ve found is that sellers who can list their homes earlier in the Spring market - late January into early February - can often get higher prices for their homes than those who wait. At this time, there are less listings with which to compete, and there are active, serious buyers who want to buy now. These buyers will act regardless of the fact that they don’t have a full inventory from which to choose, and they feel more comfortable buying when they know what the external factors are and the effects therein on their home purchase. Given where we are in January 2019 with some talk of a softening of the market, an uptick in interest rates, the recent volatility of the stock market plus the lack of snow, I believe that listing your home sooner than later this year will behoove you**. Best of luck, and Happy Selling!

What are your thoughts on this subject? Have you ever sold a home in the Spring market? Were you able to list your house earlier or later in the Spring market? What was your experience given the timing? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

*By all things considered, I mean if your property is competitively priced (and not overpriced), if it’s in good condition, and if it’s effectively marketed.

**All this said, if you can’t get your house on the market earlier in the Spring market, don’t despair. Sometimes it’s just not physically possible to get your house ready for sale as soon as you’d like, and there is always a certain amount of buyer demand throughout the Spring market and the rest of the year.