To quote Heraclitus, “The only constant in life is change.” Some kids, especially from military families, have lived in many homes before they become adults. Some, just one the whole time. I went to seven different schools in 12 years, if that tells you anything. And I had a schoolmate who lived at the same address from birth to his premature passing at 58 years old. That is certainly an exceptional case, though it does happen occasionally.
After that, from the day you first left home, whether to college, to your first job and apartment, into the service, or even possibly a marriage and whatever quarters came along with that, the Wheel of Life has turned unceasingly. All our lives have been one page, then another, then another of what’s next, chapter by chapter. Rarely is one’s first job the same job one is doing 30 years later. Generally, family is a constant, but even that has many moving parts. And the people and places that we encounter are like the actors and the sets in a long-running TV series. Some stay the same and many are fleeting. By nature, most of us strive to have some things constant, things we can depend on. And yet, we simultaneously affect a myriad of changes that we desire for the expansion and improvement of our lives, if not just to experience new and fantastical things!
So, no doubt “home” may mean something very different to each of us. Regardless, the connotation of home is that place where we prepare for and begin each day and return to decompress and recharge at day’s end; where we gladly “come home” after an exciting but exhausting adventure; where we make lifelong, precious memories with friends and family. It is our sanctuary, and subconsciously, our security. When we own our home, it becomes something even deeper. It now has roots and becomes intrinsically somehow a part of us.
Oh, but then the page turns again! Along comes another life change that causes a little quake in our home, or a big one! Marriages need a home in which to blossom, and the coming of a child, or two or three makes the cozy abode suddenly very, very small. Or the kids are grown and flown the coup and we’re now rattling around and maintaining much more space than we need. Or happily, life has been good to us and we’ve been blessed with the luxury of affording that home we’ve always dreamed of. On the other side of that coin, unhappy circumstances happen too. I’m sorry to say, but it’s reality nonetheless. Divorce, death and job loss make the happy home that once was, something now very different and in need of transitioning away from, so as to accommodate the new reality. Turn the page.
“I’ve counseled many clients to not sell due to the
availability of a more advantageous option.”
While some do, not all these circumstances require the sale of the home. I’ve counseled many clients to not sell due to the availability of a more advantageous option. Some such options include building an addition and/or remodeling, as long as they don’t “over improve” for the location. Or keep the home as an income property if they’re prepared to take on being a landlord and all that comes with that. And, of course, quite often, selling the home is the prudent thing to do. And for that, there are some best practices that will make this potentially daunting proposition significantly more painless and effective.
First tip: As timeliness goes, there are optimal times of year to go on the market. The most optimal will surprise you. Having tracked a vast array of market metrics over the years, I’ve discovered a little known pearl of wisdom relative to this very topic. I believe we can attribute this phenomenon to the internet and, specifically, homes searchable on the internet. Traditionally, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a majority of us get preoccupied, if not just distracted, with these holidays, other religious holidays and the uptick in family and friends’ festivities, and we realtors see this translate into the lowest home sales activity of the year. But, in between all the holiday parties and family visits, one conversation tends to gain intensity. That is the conversation about “changes” and plans for the new year, which frequently involve upgrading, downsizing or relocating your home. “Next year” is almost upon us and so plans are due to emerge. So, they start poking around on the internet just to get some idea of what’s out there. The phenomenon that occurs as a result is that literally by the time the first Christmas tree hits the curb, next year’s homebuyers, who have been poking around online, progress to looking at a few of the homes they see available. And in no time, they are full-on looking for that house to purchase before prices go any higher. But the new year’s home sellers are still in a hibernation of sorts, believing that the time to list is in the spring, when things are greening up and blossoming. Those early homebuyers may have less inventory to choose from, but they just need one good house and that deal is done. And that buyer is gone. The astute, first quarter home sellers have an increasing number of buyers, and significantly less competition than they will by the second quarter when listings start popping up like tulips. Advantage goes to the first quarter seller.
There’s a complete list of things that you can do to further advantage your home sale, from strategic repairs and upgrades, to the 3Ds of home preparation (ask me), to staging, and putting a solid home replacement strategy in motion. When I say there are a hundred moving parts to a real estate move, I’m grossly understating it! The best time to consult a real estate expert is now until January 1. Here’s another timely tip, before you start any upgrades that you think will improve your profitability, know this… anything you do to update or improve your home will illuminate the next thing that needs done! Sometimes, doing little or nothing is a better strategy than doing just this or that. Begin with the idea of “do nothing or do everything” and you’ll be safe, but there are exceptions and nuances worth discussing too. It’s time to plan.
Your “Home” Team wishes you Happy Holidays and, as always, Happy Homes!
K.C. Butler, ABR, CRS, MRE, ePro, CDPE
K.C. has been a broker for over 30 years, and with RE/MAX from the start. He’s earned the RE/MAX Hall of Fame Award, the RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Award and the “Above The Crowd” Distinguished Service Award for industry and community contributions. K.C. has been in the top 5 percent for sales production of all Realtors nationwide for most of his career. He is past president of the Jefferson County Association of Realtors, and past vice president of the Colorado Association of Realtors. Past Jefferson County Realtor of the Year is but one more testament of his commitment. K.C. and his family have resided in Evergreen since 1998.
Email: [email protected]Team.com