When is it safe to sell my own home?

If you have a choice in when to sell your home and are not under financial duress, then you’re lucky. As a FSBO survivor myself, I was under financial duress, and had to sell in one of the worst markets ever. So lucky FSBO condidate, take heed on a few market factors before listing your home.

Now, each market is different. Each home is in a different condition relative to competition. And each owner is different in terms of their level of selling capabilities. So these aren’t hard and fast rules. However, they will impact the speed at which you will sell your home and most definitely will impact your pricing decision if you are looking to sell in a specific time frame. For reference, nearly a quarter of home listings on the market as of July 1 experienced at least one price reduction, a 9% increase from the previous month, according to real estate search site Trulia.com. The average price drop was 10% off the original listing price – about the same from previous months.

So delay or think hard about listing your home if 2 or more of the following conditions exist in your selling situation.

  • 5+ similar homes are for sale in your square mile.

    This one is easy right? This is a simple supply and demand issue. The more supply, the more buyers’ hold the power and price reduction is used as THE competitive selling technique. I useRealtor.com for all my competitive searches and try to stay away from sites that don’t serve up the MLS listed homes. Try searching 1 and 2 mile radius’ around your home. Make sure your query looks for homes with similar square footage, bed/bath numbers and year built. If you are in a more rural area, lot size and outbuildings will matter as well. This should give you a good sense of the inventory in your area.

  • Average Days on Market for similar homes within a 2-3 mile radius (DOM) is greater than 6-8 months.

    This one is a bit tougher to find, but it’s out there. Start with the list of homes you found in your inventory search. Take a look at each listing. Go down to the bottom of the listing. There are two things you can check to see how long the home has been listed. The “days on site” is a good indication of how long the house has been listed (may not mean that this is how long it’s been on the MLS, but it’s a good bell-weather for DOM.

    Section located at lower left of a listing page. See "Days on Site" for a rough estimate of DOM.

    The other thing you could look at is the listing that sits on the broker’s site. Most of the time the Realtor.com listing will have a link to the agent/broker’s site in the upper right hand corner. They usually have another version of the listing on their site or give you access to the actual MLS listing which will have a days on market number, also at the bottom. Don’t be confused by what looks like multiple listings. It’s not. It’s the same information just communicated through different “templates.”

    Agent details usually located in the upper right of listing.

  • Home prices in your area have dropped steadily and more than the broader city you live in.

    Almost every market has taken a tumble or the last few years. That isn’t the point here. The point is whether or not your specific area is better or worse in performance than your broader city or county.

  • Your home isn’t ready for prime time

    The shape your home is in relative to other listings is critical especially if you have a lot of competition. Make sure you can rival your competition. This is a much longer conversation that I cover in other blog posts. But be ready, this isn’t just about curb appeal.