The market has shifted. It's important for sellers to know that buyers now have the luxury of being choosy. A year ago, a buyer would have mere hours to write an offer on a house. Today in Bend, the average listing is on the market for about 20 days. Not only are houses staying on the market longer, but there are also more homes to choose from. In the spring of 2022, we had less than .5 months inventory. This September, we had two months of inventory. That's a 300% increase.
What does this mean? Buyers are looking at more houses and paying closer attention to the upgraded features, curb appeal and repair and renovation history. If you are a seller and want to be competitive in this market, it's a good idea to look at your property from the perspective of today's pickier buyer.
Clients often ask me what are the fixups and renovations that have the biggest return on investment when selling their home. First, it depends on the property and the neighborhood. If you have an older home and nothing has been upgraded, it's likely best to leave it to the next buyer to make the property their own. If it's in area where buyers expect homes to be in a certain condition and there are a couple of things that have been upgraded, it may make sense to do a couple more. I would always consult a Realtor ® to see if an upgrade is going to add value to a property and whether the seller will see a return on their investment.
That said, there are some features that buyers are paying closer attention to right now. Decking, interior and exterior paint, roof (both age and condition), furnace and water heater (age) and flooring top the list of big-ticket items that are getting a closer look from today's buyers.
As well, overall maintenance, interior features and curb appeal can make a big difference in the sale of your home. The better maintained a home is the more confidence a buyer will have in the overall condition of the home. Making sure your lawn is well-maintained, chipped paint is refreshed, windows are sparkly clean, and any smells are addressed and corrected including pet odor—these simple, low-cost steps can ensure your home makes a good first impression.
Staging may also be more crucial in today's competitive market. The goal of staging is to show the property in the best light to attract the right buyer. Who doesn't want that? A recent survey from the International Association of Home Staging Professionals shows that staging helps sell homes three to 30 times faster than the non-staged competition. Further, staging can help increase the sale price by up to 20% on average.
Bottom line? In the ultra-hot market we experienced last year, buyers were more forgiving of deferred maintenance items. That time has passed. If you are getting ready to list your home, make sure to connect with an experienced Realtor ® to help you make smart decisions for today's market.