To sell or not to sell? That is the question

What you need to know about selling your home in the 2020 housing market

Created date

July 31st, 2020
A person is sitting at a table, with the left hand typing on a laptop and their right hand operating a calculator. There is a small toy house next to the calculator. The image is cropped below their neck.

There are many factors to consider when selling your house. But input from one of Oak Crest’s preferred real estate agents can help. 

What's the secret to a quick and successful home sale in a challenging housing market? And is there a best time to sell a house? It comes down to two things according to Penny Noval, a local real estate agent at Long & Foster’s Timonium office.

"If your property is in good shape and priced right, the market is going to jump on it,” says Noval. 

In fact, if your house is move-in ready, what real estate agents refer to as ‘turnkey,’ that can mean the difference between selling quickly and sitting on the market. 

"Buyers want a home that is in move-in condition,” says Noval. “No one wants to inherit any deferred maintenance from the seller. Buyers want to move in with no hassle and get back to daily living.”

Noval specializes in helping longtime homeowners who are looking to downsize, sell their homes, and move to retirement communities like Oak Crest, an Erickson Living-managed community in Parkville, Md. She says despite the toll the coronavirus has taken on many businesses, for now, the housing market is rolling right along.

"It’s actually remained pretty busy,” says Noval. “I think a couple of things have happened. When the virus hit, we were right on the brink of a really busy spring market. There was already a lot of demand out there which had to be put on hold because of the lockdown. Second, since the rates are so low, there is a huge impetus there to grab that money. And lastly, we are still suffering from an undersupplied market. We are actually at a point in time where we are seeing multiple offers on homes.” 

Hope on the horizon: understanding the Baltimore County housing market

According to Long & Foster’s April 2020 Market Conditions Report, the median sale price for homes in Baltimore County was $264,900, up from $247,500 the previous year. April home sellers in the Baltimore Metro area received 99.1% of their listing price, compared to 98.8% in 2019. And the average ‘days on the market’ is down 19% versus a year ago. These statistics indicate the Baltimore housing market is thriving.

Unlike the housing market crash of 2008, Noval says the market has remained steady despite the pandemic, in part because the pool of buyers and sellers is strong. Predictions for the housing market in 2020 are positive, which is good news if you’re looking to sell your home. 

"Right now, the people out there have a good solid equity position,” says Noval. “In 2008, when we had that market fall off, a lot of people had minimum equity. Now, both buyers and sellers are sitting on some good equity, which allows them to make a move either up to a larger home or out altogether.”

Technology, including virtual self-guided tours, room-by-room narrated videos, and the ability to post up to 150 high-quality photos per listing, aids buyers in their search by enabling them to tour every detail of the home without setting foot inside.  

Minor updates, major impact: how to increase home value

If you’re considering putting your home on the market before the year’s out, Noval says you don’t need to sink all of your home equity into remodeling. The best home improvements don’t require a major investment. Making minor updates can make a major difference in both how quickly your home sells and its final selling price. Noval offers these tips for selling your home.

"Fresh neutral paint, taupe-beige is a nice neutral color with crisp white trim; no wallpaper; fresh neutral carpet; and a clean, decluttered home can provide a great yield. When something is clean and fresh, it really can appeal to people,” says Noval.

She also encourages homeowners to be prudent in seeking out any defective items and addressing them before the ‘for sale’ sign goes up.

"It is generally a good rule of thumb to have the furnace cleaned and serviced in advance, the same with the chimney,” says Noval. 

"Also, make repairs you know need to be done—leaky faucets, an electrical socket that no longer works, and any other major items, like the roof—that might be aged. The home inspector is going to find it in the end, so take all of the objections off the table before you list your home. Plus, if a buyer notices deferred maintenance, they will often choose a different house in better condition. Buyers also imagine that the repair costs will be greater than they really are and will want to discount their offering price. It is more cost-effective to fix items beforehand, instead of last-minute after the home inspection.”

So, what does Noval predict the housing market will look like over the next few months?

"Assuming the pandemic conditions flatten and improve, the market will likely rebound,” says Noval. “As long as the virus continues to subside and things keep improving, I think we are going to have the spring market we typically see in April and May stretch out over the next few months, and it is going to be very busy all summer into the fall.”

Let Erickson Living help shoulder the burden

If you’re ready to sell your home, Erickson Realty and Moving Services has simplified the process from start to finish. From helping you find an experienced local real estate agent to list and sell your house to downsizing tips, all your moving needs are covered. If maintenance-free living at Oak Crest sounds like a dream come true, take the first step and request a brochure. Or if you live in another state, find an Erickson Living community in your area.