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5 New "Rules of Thumb" For Selling Your Island Home

Susan McCallion

Hi! I’m Susan McCallion, Sanibel resident, former non-profit executive, mother of four, and Broker and Principal of McCallion & McCallion Realty...

Hi! I’m Susan McCallion, Sanibel resident, former non-profit executive, mother of four, and Broker and Principal of McCallion & McCallion Realty...

Sep 9 6 minutes read

Unique market conditions are breaking the rules of real estate. As buyer demand remains high and home inventory remains low, we all continue to adapt to new measures in the real estate industry. It's not surprising that traditions that were once "rules of thumb" are becoming less the norm and more frequently the exception. Here are five "new norms" you should prepare for when selling your home in today's market. 

New Rule #1: Strategize on Pricing

In this market, it can be hard to run an accurate "comparative market analysis" (CMA) for your property.  Homes that sold a year ago have different values than they would today. In fact, the average price appreciation in your area is hovering between 25%-30% compared to last year. Because of this, you can no longer plug an address into a computer generated system and have it spit out an accurate home value. 

A Realtor® with local market knowledge will need to compare homes with similar features that have recently sold or are currently listed for sale. Even then, finding enough data to support a fair market value is challenging. That's why it's important to choose an agent that you trust knows the market well, and is working with your best interest in mind. 

Speaking of which, what are your goals in selling your home? Do you care more about timing or pricing? Depending on your situation, a different strategy will be needed. Be sure to discuss this with your agent so everyone is on the same page. 

New Rule #2: Avoid "Over-Upgrading" 

Far too often, buyers are told that investing in upgrades will help their homes sell faster. However, putting money into the wrong areas can mean that you won't get your money back, and it may not even have a big impact on how buyers perceive your home. Instead of throwing money anywhere, ask your Realtor® what they suggest based on current market conditions. Look at comparable homes in your neighborhood.

If you have extra money to invest, focus on projects that raise the standards, like replacing windows with ones that are energy-efficient and wind-resistant, adding hurricane shutters, or other features that enhance the "safety & security" of your property. Again, we strongly suggest discussing any upgrades with your agent BEFORE diving into new projects. 

Not only do these upgrades involve money, but they also take time, lots of time, especially if you have to wait for a contractor's availability, parts to become available, etc. Time is valuable in a market that is still experiencing a lack of inventory.

New Rule #3: Sell Your Location

Everyone knows that selling real estate is all about "location, location, location." That's something you can't change. While potential home buyers might dream of owning a gulf-front home, the reality might be that there are no gulf-front properties that meet their needs or price-point. If they want to own a property on Sanibel, they will either have to wait for the perfect property or open their mind to other possibilities.

It's our job to share all of the great qualities about your home, including its location. Think about why you love your home's location. What benefits have you experienced that you didn't even realize when you purchased the home? Insider tid-bits like this will help "sell your location" to potential buyers who might not have considered your home otherwise. 

On the same note, let's highlight your outdoor space! Everyone who moves to Sanibel appreciates the year-round warm weather and the beautiful natural landscape that the island offers. Spruce up your lanai or backyard to create an outdoor oasis unlike anything else on the market. 

New Rule #4: Say Yes to Open Houses 

In the past, we haven't placed much importance on open houses since they would often only attract nosey neighbors or curious vacationers. But times are changing. We now suggest hosting an open house within the first few days of listing your home for sale. Why? It's an easy and convenient way to handle the multiple requests to show your home as soon as it hits the market.

Remember, inventory is short. So, when a new property hits the market, potential buyers and other real estate agents are very eager to see the home in person or host a virtual walk-through with their clients on the line. Even if your open house only has a few visitors, the extra publicity provided with hosting an open house is valuable to your home's online presence. Open houses attract attention, which is exactly what you want when listing your home for sale. 

New Rule #5: Have One Foot Out The Door

It may sound overly optimistic, and we hate to "jynx" your situation, but the data speaks for itself when we say homes are selling quickly. The average "days on market" continues to decrease and we've experienced multiple situations where homeowners are overwhelmed at how qiuckly their property went under contract. 

That's why it's best to have a plan in place for what happens when your home sells. This will be one less stressful decision to make at a time where many moving pieces and important decisions are on your plate. Of course, we're here to help make the process of selling and moving as smooth as possible. But this is one piece of valuable advice we can provide beforehand. 

Selling Houses for the Highest Dollar

It's out with the old and in with the new, but these emerging rules are only the tip of the iceberg. Selling real estate for top dollar means staying on top of buyer's wants, needs, and preferences. Want more expert advice? Let’s chat!

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