While the summer months of July and August traditionally have been considered real estate’s slow season, times have changed. I used to advise most of my clients not to list their homes during these high summer months. The thinking back then was that February and March were the very best times to list followed by September after Labor Day. It was believed that listing in the early spring or in September after Labor Day would give buyers a chance to get their mortgage and, in cases of a co-op purchase, time to get board approval and close the deal before the end of the school year and the start of long summer vacations.
Today, these rules no longer apply due to great digital marketing and online information on many real estate websites and across all social platforms. As a result of all the digital marketing, real estate has become a 24/7 business—not a seasonal business. My listing strategy now is “Get it on the market and let’s see what buyers are interested!” There is still a surge of properties that come on the market in the spring, the highest month being May. The level of inventory increases again after Labor Day and peaks in October. This is information that I received from Jonathan Miller, a top appraiser and author of our Douglas Elliman market reports.
Advantages of selling your home in the summer:
• If you decide to sell your home in the peak inventory months, your home will have much more competition.
• If you decide to sell your home in the summer inventory will be lower and buyers will have less
choices. You have more of an opportunity to showcase your home to help it stand out from the competition.
• If you own a condo keep in mind that many foreigners and people from outside of New York come to the city to shop for real estate in the summer.
• If you have outdoor space, such as a terrace or garden, the summer is the best time to show it off!
• Your listing will be new and fresh, while others that were listed in the spring and are still lingering on the market will look stale in comparison.
• Buyers looking for a smaller apartment are likely working in the city during the summer and will be looking. Also, parents may be shopping for apartments for their children who are just entering the job market after graduation.
Tips on selling your home in the summer:
• Get your home market ready! Make sure that everything is in tip-top shape. It is critical that your home look its best right from the start.
• Hire a very experienced broker who is a marketing expert. You must have top photography, great physical or digital staging, and a creative property video that tells the compelling story about your home. Your broker will design a bespoke marketing plan to promote your home to the widest audience.
• When you sign the listing agreement, make sure you add a rider that your listing not go live until the photographs, staging, property video, and brochures are of top-notch quality.
• Correct pricing is key! Your home will get its highest number of views and activity when it first comes out on the market if it is priced to the market or slightly below the market price, shows at its best, and is widely promoted.
• Don’t hold open houses on holiday weekends. Consider holding open houses Monday through Wednesday in the summer. Hold open houses after 5 p.m. if the building allows. Have your broker test open houses on weekends to see which day and time draws the most attendance.
• Don’t list your co-op in the summer if it needs a lot of renovation in a building that has “summer work” rules. Buyers won’t be able to occupy the apartment until the end of the following summer, making your listing undesirable to many of them.
At the end of the day, selling your NYC home in the summer is a sound decision if you follow my advice. Implement these tips and your home’s status will go from “active” to “sold” by the end of the summer.
This article was originally published in the June issue of The Mann Report.