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At Home on the Hill: What is Really the Best Time to Sell a Home on The Hill?

by HillNow.com March 24, 2016 at 2:00 pm 0

At Home On The Hill

This sponsored column is written by Ty Voyles, a licensed Realtor© in the District of Columbia and principal of Fulcrum Properties Group, a team of real estate agents located on Capitol Hill that serves Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Complete our Buyer Questionnaire or Sellers Questionnaire today, and we can help you find your dream home tomorrow!

Zillow recently released a new tool that allows a seller to “time the market” and determine the ideal window for selling their home for highest price in the fewest number of days. It’s a great idea, but the market is driven by much more than these computer algorithms are tracking.

On Capitol Hill, price is driven at a neighborhood level, with neighborhood factors. Zillow is using regional data, not local data, to determine the numbers. The reality is that price factors are not a regional, city, or even zip code issue.

Take, for example, how local data shifts month to month due to the type and price of homes sold. If 30 out of 100 sales in April are for condos, and then 45 out of 100 in May are for condos, the numbers could incorrectly suggest that it’s better to sell in April due to the average sales price. The same number of homes were sold each month, but April looks better simply because more of the listings were houses at a higher price point than condos.

Additionally, inventory fluctuations by neighborhood have a bigger impact on your home’s value than the city or regional market’s fluctuation. The only way to get this information is through a highly proactive agent who is tapped into recent sales, current inventory, and coming soon listings or shadow inventory.

Now, let’s consider average time on the market. This is determined more by pricing it right and presenting it well, than on the actual list date. Zillow shows the market average for days on the market (DOM) for Capitol Hill to be 43 days, and suggests that listing your home in April can reduce this by 18 days. Our team’s average DOM is 13. Our median is eight. Having your home move quickly isn’t about when you list; it’s about listing it with the right agent at the right price.

Looking at my own home on Zillow — and ignoring the fact that the Zestimate is about $150K off in its estimation of my current market value — it says I will get $3,500 more by listing my home in April instead of March. What they are really saying is that historically, homes like mine registered a final sales price of $3,500 more in April . . . when you look at the all of the D.C. metro area. But knowing the current local inventory and the current local feel of the market, I’d wager that I’d actually be better served listing my home today than in a month. Why? Because inventory is tight right now, but the line of listings expected — both by us and through other agents we talk with regularly — is increasing. This means that the current set of buyers will compete more aggressively over my home now because there are fewer alternate options available. But next month, these buyers will likely have more to choose from.

Zillow chart

Most importantly, finding the right time to sell should include the impact in your life. Selling a home isn’t a piece of cake. It takes preparation, patience, and poise. Getting your home in show condition — and keeping it that way — is a daunting task. Doing the prep work the right way, and on the right timeline to reduce stress and maximize results is worth so much more than a few hundred or a few thousand dollars to our clients. Especially when we can make up that “time the market” money with smart improvements and clever presentation.

The best way to really maximize your home’s sale price is to work with the right agent, prepare the home in the right way, and present the home in the best light. So play with the new Zillow tool, then give us a call for the real scoop. I would wager my commission that our process and expertise will get you a better sales price on your home than “timing the market” will. And you’ll enjoy the process a lot more too!

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Hill Now.

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