Speedy home updates help agents sell fast as market slows

Publish Date: October 16, 2023

Written by Olivia Mariani

- Originally published at Inman News - Olivia Mariani

With the holidays just around the corner, the real estate market is preparing to head into its seasonal slump. Though it’s an annual event, it’s still a bit of an adjustment to adapt to a narrowing pipeline. All sellers want for Christmas is to get their homes off the market before the end of the year, but all buyers want is to stay put. Even though it is still a seller’s market overall, this end-of-year shift can make getting your listings off the market a bit more challenging.

The secret to seasonality success

If you have listings right now, it is likely that your sellers need to sell and get their homes off the market before the end of the year. The longer it takes to get their homes sold, the more frustrated they will be. While dropping the sales price is certainly an option to try to get the ball rolling, it probably isn’t going to make your sellers very happy. Instead of jumping to an unnecessary price cut, there is another option that will get the house off the market quickly — and likely even put more profit in your sellers’ pockets.

According to our Home Improvement Report, 77 percent of buyers won’t even consider buying a home that isn’t move-in ready. If your listings could be described as “needing some love,” then they will never sell before the end-of-the-year deadline. To capture the attention of potential buyers still on the hunt this holiday season and get your listings off the market sooner, the homes need to be in tip-top shape.

A little bit can go a long way

Since you may be racing against the clock to get your listings sold, home improvements may seem out of the question, but that shouldn’t be the case. Forgoing any updates before listing could cost you and your sellers a lot of time on the backend (and money) as the home is ignored by buyers and sits on the market. Instead, taking a little time to make updates before putting the house up for sale should attract the remaining buyers and save you a lot of time in the long run.

You don’t need to start tearing down walls or demolishing the kitchen to make an impact either (who has time for that?). Instead, simple aesthetic updates and basic preparations not only have faster project turnaround times but also often come with higher returns. Based on our report, a fresh coat of paint inside and out had an average ROI of 159 percent for Curbio clients. Similarly, refinishing hardwood floors led to an average ROI of 348 percent and replacing carpets had an average ROI of 280 percent. If your listings’ interiors need a little TLC before hitting the market, these updates may be a safe bet for your client’s time and money.

Even just boosting the home’s curb appeal can have a big impact and help the home get noticed by potential buyers during this seasonal lull. Power washing the exterior led to an average ROI of 135 percent, and basic landscaping had an average ROI of 251 percent for Curbio homes. Hurry and get pictures of the refreshed exterior before the winter weather leaves trees bare and snow covering the plants. When the listing looks refreshed and welcoming online, it is more likely to be noticed by buyers and get them through the door.

If you and your sellers are feeling the effects of the end-of-the-year lull, it may be time to rethink your selling strategy. Before slashing the price by $20,000, try making some updates instead.

A turnkey and pay-at-closing solution for pre-listing updates, Curbio is the realtor’s contractor. Our focus on speed to market and profit-driven results get home improvement projects completed faster than traditional general contractor work while getting homeowners a higher return. We also manage the entire project for you, so you can focus on more important things.

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