Before I got my licence in real estate, I was working with a coach to explore some different career options I was considering. At one point I told my coach that I had always been fascinated by real estate but gee, the market wasn’t very good so maybe that wasn’t such a hot career choice. I’ll never forget what his answer to that comment was:
“Karri, that is the stupidest excuse I’ve ever heard in my life for not doing something. Since when does ‘the market’ have @#$%! to do with your success or failure as a real estate agent?”
I signed up for real estate school the next day.
In Lethbridge real estate, trying to time the market is… a waste of time.
External market forces have a lot less to do with the sale of your home than you think. For sure they matter, but only insofar as how we are going to tackle that listing−and eventual sale−together.
On average, 100-120 homes trade hands each month on the Lethbridge City MLS®. Is it busier in Spring? Yes. Will you fetch a bit more money and sell faster when the market is busy? Probably. Does market supply and demand impact how you will price your home? Absolutely. Will the market cycle down and cycle up over time? Of course. And, barring an apocalyptic event or economic shock, people will keep on buying and selling homes every month, without fail.
So is timing your listing really that crucial? Or do you just need to get one qualified buyer to make an attractive offer and successfully close the transaction?
Your personal and financial readiness may be more important than what the external market is doing.
The smartest real estate agents know that their job isn’t to list homes but to sell them. Regardless of what the market is doing, I want to determine the likelihood of actually closing a deal after putting a sign in the ground. This is in your best interest as well, because why would you want to endure the stress and heartache of a stale listing? Prepare to answer these 3 questions before going near a listing agreement:
1) Can you afford to sell your home? (If you’re underwater, you may not be able to sell.)
2) How motivated are you to sell your home?
3) Are you willing to DO what I recommend before going to market?
I can list your cardboard box for sale if you really want me to, but that doesn’t mean I should. In fact, before I get anywhere near a listing agreement, I would like to understand why you even want to talk with a listing agent in the first place. Then, if you are truly motivated to sell your home, I want to understand what you’re willing to do to get an offer on the table and ensure a smooth transaction. Granted, I’m here to stick handle the deal from list to close, but we’re a team. Without seller cooperation, that sign in the yard is little more than advertising for me.
These conversations aren’t always sunshine and rainbows, but a good agent is willing to have them with you. Maybe your air conditioning unit is busted. Maybe the fence is falling down. Maybe you have red walls in a neighbourhood where no one likes red walls.
Maybe your expectations about price are not in line with market reality. Or maybe you want to sell your home but your wife would rather have a root canal and isn’t going anywhere.
And maybe you’re just waiting around for ‘the perfect time’ to sell, perhaps even hoping a REALTOR® can tell you when that moment will occur.
But choosing ‘the perfect time’ to list your home is like choosing the perfect time to get married or have a baby or make any major life change. That perfect moment very likely doesn’t exist at all. Life is too messy for that. The goal, rather, is to optimize what we can control within a broader market that we can’t.
The right real estate agent won’t push for anything but a decision, a decision based on how ready you really are to move on.