When kids head back to school, most families are going to be too busy to devote much time to home buying and selling. Then, before you know, the year-end holidays will arrive and from Halloween all the way through New Year’s Day and beyond, real estate will likely take a back seat with other activities occupying your clients’ and potential clients’ time. That transition from the busier time for real estate sales to the traditionally slow colder months can be difficult for real estate professionals, because it can mean less opportunity for income and for generating lucrative sales and marketing leads.
One thing to focus on, though, is that there are still a few weeks left during which you can take advantage of the summer sales season while it still continues. Don’t stop being active, as some real estate agents do, because August can be a very profitable month – especially if you work harder to educate buyers and sellers about the seasonality of real estate and the opportunities that “shoulder seasons” – the one that bridge the busier months with the slowdown period – can represent.
Engage with homeowners who have properties listed with you, for example, and emphasize to them the importance of acting now – before the season ends – because it is also in their best interest. If their home doesn’t sell in August, the chances of it selling may start to diminish, shrinking week by week as the weather grows colder. Many home sellers have their home listed above the price that buyers in today’s market are willing to pay, for instance, and strategically lowering the asking price to a more attractive level in August can inspire a quick sale.
There is also the cost of maintenance to consider on vacant properties, both in terms of the higher cost of utilities to keep them heated but also because of mortgage and insurance payments that must be made. Homeowners who sell now can avoid all of those costs – but if they don’t sell they could have to keep shelling out money until the market activity picks again next year in the spring. Most homeowners don’t factor in all these costs, but as their Realtor you can break it all down with line item clarity to help them understand the real, bottom line cost of holding out for a higher price.
Oftentimes, in fact, lowering the asking price by a small percentage winds up saving them money in the long run – since they no longer have the responsibility of maintenance, upkeep, and mortgage, insurance, and tax obligations. Wintertime is usually much harder on homes that warm weather, too, so that repairs may be needed six months from now that can add to the cost of home ownership and undercut the value of equity and profit. So one of the best uses of your time in August is to have informed, serious discussions with homeowners about their pricing and selling strategies.
As far as buyers are concerned, you can also educate them about the same seasonal trends. Let them know that many homeowners get antsy in August, especially if their house has not received any serious offers in a while. That can be a great opportunity for a qualified buyer to make an offer and walk away with a great home at a great price – versus waiting and risking the chance that mortgage interest rates may start their long-anticipated rise from current historically low levels.