Friday, December 10, 2021

The Darkest Six Weeks in Real Estate

That is a rather ominous title. It just sits there lurking about. Seems a bit scary. Don't worry it's all fine there is no impending demolition of the market or prognosis of doom and despair. But it can feel that way sometimes as we enter the six darkest weeks of the year. 

Unless you live in the tropical zone this is the time of year where the days are short and nights are long and cold. Here above the 45th parallel these next six weeks offer about 8 hours of daylight against 16 hours of night. The Pacific Northwest adds that whole cloudy thing to make it even darker. Those car headlights are on at 3pm and even the late sleepers like me, wake up in the dark.

So what the heck does that have to do with real estate? I'm glad you asked. This is time of year for sellers to leave the lights on. Not just the holiday lights but all the lights. Many people will view a listed house after work and that means after dark this time of year. Curb appeal still counts even in the dark. A brightly illuminated home will add a few bucks to your utility bill, but it may add thousands to your sales price. Turning them all on for a showing is fine and well, but many buyers these days will drive around looking at homes they see online. This is there pre-tour and the ones they like they ask their Realtor® to show. If they drive by your listed home and see a dark and uninviting place, they may just scratch it off the list. 

Under the cover of darkness and the typical winter landscape, the yard as the initial curb appeal feature is diminished. Sellers should be cautious about having an uninviting and dark front yard and home during the winter months in general. This is particularly important during the six weeks surrounding the winter solstice. Although the three weeks before the solstice have the advantage of holiday displays which are often well illuminated, the New Year typically brings an end to that. Consider adding some solar/battery walkway lights and even lights along the driveway. These can be very inexpensive and provide an inviting and cheery first impression for buyers viewing the home for the first time, especially when doing so when it is dark. That just so happens to be 2/3 of the day round this time of year. 

The seller's market here in Clark County continues, but it is not as one sided as it was a year or so back. Buyers are more picky, and multiple offers over asking are generally happening on homes that are well prepared for the market. These are the homes that get the big prices and the fast activity. The homes that are just listed as is and with little or no 'staging' may linger in the market and sell for less money.

Clark County now has a median home price in excess of $500,000. A five percent price reduction is $25,000. You can do a hell of a lot of staging for 1/5 that amount and it very well may add 3-5% to the final price of the home.

Dark and dreary is not a winning hand unless you are selling to vampires. Expanding your market beyond the bloodsuckers will yield great rewards ;)

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