When Should Your House Hit the Market?

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.  Surely you've heard that sage advice at least eight times in your life.  These wonderful words of wisdom can help with so many aspects in your life. However, for some reason, when selling a home people pay no attention to the advice. Foolishly. 

Let's first define "first impression" in real estate. Many people think their first impression happens when a buyer walks through the door. That's not entirely true. For many sellers their first showing happens online. The buyers "view" your home through the photos and if they're not interested in the impression left by the photos and description, they'll never come tour your house for a "second" impression. 

When you're home hits the market it's get syndicated out through the MLS and (depending on your agent) Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com & elsewhere. A brand new listing garners the most attention from buyers. When your listing is new, it has the biggest audience. YOU WILL NEVER GET AS MANY EYEBALLS ON YOUR LISTING AS YOU DO IN THE FIRST TEN HOURS. Why did I shout that last sentence?  It's the most misunderstood facet in real estate marketing. 

Real Estate Marketing Suicide 

Real Estate Marketing Suicide 

The listing pictured above has been on the market ten days as of today. Seriously, how much interest do you think a buyer will need to check back "often" for ten days? Look at the non-highlighted text. That's the real telltale. The house isn't photo ready yet. There's a hole in the kitchen wall that needs to be fixed. I'll tell you the house shouldn't be on the market until it's ready. Completely ready. 

First impressions ARE EVERYTHING. In the first 24 hours on the market your listing will be seen by the most buyers. Everyone currently searching in that area and price range will see it in the first 24 hours. In today's world, likely in the first four hours. For those who are tech savvy and super serious about buying a home... the first hour. 

If ten days have passed and the home has been on the market with no photos and a description stating "check back soon."  You're only going to attract the new buyers that come into the market. It won't be seen by the market as a whole again until a price reduction happens and the listing re-syndicates. 

Earlier this year I had sellers who were very nervous about waiting to get their home on the market. They had already purchased their second home and didn't' want two mortgages. They had some things that really needed to be done so the home could put it's best foot forward to the market. This included carpet cleaning and stretching plus some painting. To get everyone lined up and all the work completed took two weeks. We were coming up on the end of summer and these guys were getting very nervous.  They asked several times if we could put it on the market with notes that "X" "Y" & "Z" would be done.  I implored they wait until everything was done. 

Once everything was completed, the photos were taken, the house was on the market and just five days later a full price contract had come through. That's the most recent example. I can cite many more. I can also point to where the opposite happened. Going on the market without photos is the number one sin. I'd suspect that the market will allow about two hours to have photos and after that they'll forget to check back and again, it may be the first price reduction before you listing gets noticed. 

So when should your listing hit the market?  When it's ready and not a day sooner. Trying to beat the weekend rush and getting the home on the market before the photos are taken and the flyers are printed... that could cost you thousands of dollars and many days on the market. Be patient and do it right, all of the corny cliches we've heard in life prove true when selling real estate.