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Real Estate Tips

When's The Best Time To Sell Your North Shore Home?

How do you know when is the best time of year to sell a home? Selling your home in Swampscott, Marblehead, or anywhere in the North Shore area is a matter of timing. Market demand varies according to the season, and buyers want to be settled in for our beautiful summers. Here at Sagan Harborside, our Realtors know that when you list your home for sale affects both how quickly it sells, and the price. The busiest selling seasons mean more buyers, but increased competition. A property for sale at a slow time of year may sit on the market, giving buyers the impression that it has a major flaw.

Feature Your Amenities To Sell A Home Faster

According to statistics, Spring and Fall are the best times to list and sell a home. However, since life events usually dictate when you need to sell, the timing isn’t always ideal. Before setting a listing date, we carefully examine your home’s strengths and weaknesses. Is there a guest suite? Is your property enjoyed most in Summer? If you have beautiful outdoor spaces, then a May listing lets you show them off. Homes with a nicely finished basement, cozy fireplaces, and energy-efficient heating have an advantage in Fall and Winter. If you must sell at the “wrong” time of year, consider professional staging to maximize your home’s appeal.


Swampscott beachfront home Sagan Harborside Realty

Swampscott beachfront home with staging

Should You Sell A Home In The Spring?

In areas like Marblehead, where many people vacation or have second homes, it’s smart to put a property on the market in time for summer, when the most people are in town. Homes that are listed in May typically sell nine days faster, on average. However, there is more competition on the market in May, which can keep prices down.

For waterfront and beach area homes, buyers want to finish closing in time to enjoy the summer season. Listing these homes earlier in the Spring, in March or April, markets them to buyers seeking a summer home.

Local school schedules influence the market for single family homes and larger condominiums. April, May and June are prime home-buying months for families with kids. If they’re changing school districts, they want to be settled in before school starts in August.

Is It Smart To Sell A Home In The Fall?

With fewer properties on the market, homes sold in the fall sell for 5% higher than average. September listings can reach buyers who want to close and move in before the holidays. Fall is also a great time to highlight your home’s curb appeal – the leaves are changing, and landscaping is still green. Add some color to your porch and patio with potted flowers. Outdoor seating areas are perfect for sunny fall days – keep cushions out to welcome potential buyers, and light the fire pit!

Spectacular Marblehead family home


Houses that don’t have a lot of outdoor amenities find it easier to compete in the Fall. Summertime buyers might be sold on a swimming pool, but in cold weather shoppers are more likely to appreciate features like a finished basement, large comfortable rooms, an upgraded heating system or a home office.

This Marblehead listing features a spacious home office.


Out-of-town buyers may also use vacation time over the holidays to look at houses, so if your Fall listing is still on the market, don’t worry!

Do North Shore Houses Sell In The Winter?

Many people think homes don’t sell once the weather gets cold, and the busy holiday season comes around. Professional realtors know from experience they can sell a home any time, once the right buyer comes along. Some houses are at their most charming in the winter – with snow on the ground, a roaring fireplace, and good smells coming from the kitchen. If your home is historic, or has beautiful interior details and furnishings, Fall or Winter may be the perfect time to list it.

Historic home for sale in Hamilton, MA unique woodwork and fireplace.

A historic home for sale in Hamilton, MA


Winter can be an excellent time to sell an older home that needs updating, especially if it’s in a desirable location near the water. With fewer properties on the market, more buyers are willing to consider a home that needs work. If someone is specifically looking for property to renovate, they’ll have time to finish the work before the summer season. If you’re selling a property that has potential for an extensive remodel, don’t hesitate to list it for sale in the winter.

No matter what time of year you need to sell your home, our professional  Realtors here at Sagan Harborside Realty have the expertise to help maximize your home’s selling potential. Just give us a call at 781-593-6111.


Should You Stage Your Home When Selling?

Most people put time and effort into staging their homes before selling – getting rid of clutter, planting flowers, and touching up paint. But the use of professional home staging services has grown tremendously in recent years. Many Realtors offer a few hours of professional staging as an added value when they list your home, so be sure to ask!  Real estate staging firms provide services as simple as a walk-through consultation, or as complex as furnishing an empty home. Studies have shown that staged homes sell faster, although not necessarily for higher prices. So, should you hire a professional home stager?

The decision to hire a stager is something you’ll make in consultation with your listing agent. Consider your lifestyle and local market conditions – in a hot market, homes may already be selling quickly, with multiple offers. However, staged homes garner a lot more interest – their photo-ready interiors look more appealing, especially on the selling agent’s website and online listings.

Home staging isn’t decorating. It neutralizes the decor and can minimize some features and accentuate others. If you’re unsure whether staging is right for you, discuss the following questions with your Realtor:

  • What’s the available inventory for homes similar to yours, in features and price point?
  • Are there deficiencies that can be minimized by creative staging?
  • Are there rooms that have an undefined purpose?
  • Are you in a hurry to sell?

Talk with your Realtor about competing listings, and how staging can transform your home into a sought-after property. Staged homes attract more shoppers, and increased competition for a listing can have a positive effect on its final selling price. A 2017 profile by the National Association of Realtors found that:

  • 29% of sellers’ agents reported an increase of 1% to 5% of the dollar value offered by buyers, in comparison to similar homes.
  • 21% percent of respondents stated that staging a home increased the dollar value of the home between 6% and 10%.
  • 39% percent of sellers’ agents stated that staging a home greatly decreases the amount of time the home is on the market. (Source: The Profile of Home Staging)

Staging an Empty Home

Home-staging won’t hide your home’s flaws, but it certainly keeps buyers focused on imagining the listing as a lived-in home. Realtors Heather Murray and Jack Brown of The Murray Brown Group at Sagan Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty in Swampscott, Massachusetts  advise their clients to consider staging:

“When a home we’re selling is empty or sparsely decorated, we like to either stage the home ourselves or use a professional stager depending on the amount of staging needed. When a home is empty, staging can help buyers envision how the space will look with their furniture in it and how the rooms function and flow. When a home is sparsely decorated, staging can help “finish” the look and create a more attractive and appealing aspirational look. Any of the times we’ve staged a home we’ve felt it significantly helped sell the home faster and at a higher price than we would have gotten with it un-staged.”

If the home is empty, the rooms can actually appear smaller. Staging the main rooms with furniture helps buyers understand the scale of each space – they can see at a glance how a sectional sofa or dining table will fit. In older homes with small rooms, furniture that’s the right scale makes the spaces feel livable. Instead of unflattering ceiling light, staging adds warm and inviting lamplight to the home.

A new, high-tech approach to staging an empty home is Sotheby’s International Realty’s Curate App. Using virtual reality, Curate by Sotheby's International Realty allows consumers to select and place furniture, rugs and lighting into images of empty rooms. It even offers different interior design styles, so users can see how their taste and style will work with the home.

Home staging will ensure that your home looks its best while it’s on the market. This is especially helpful when real estate agents show your home without your listing agent there. Prices for staging vary significantly from one city to another. For a large home, you can expect to pay a few thousand dollars a month to have a professionally-decorated, expensively-furnished interior.

Staging a Lived-In Home

In a home that’s occupied, personal mementos and clutter can stand in the way of a buyer’s ability to imagine themselves living in the home. When you decide to sell, work closely with your Realtor to transform your home so that it appeals to a buyer, not to your tastes. Your listing agent will alert you to any problem areas and share valuable resources with you, like trusted cleaning services, painters, and staging professionals. Professional help is critical as you prepare your home for sale.

Decluttering can be the most difficult part of selling a long-term residence, but it’s a critical part of staging a home. If closets are stuffed and rooms look crowded, buyers get the impression that the home doesn’t have enough space. Your Realtor’s expertise is invaluable at this stage – remember, they’re experts in how buyers will view your home. When a Realtor recommends professional staging services, they’re using on their knowledge of the market to give you the best possible outcome.

If you decide to hire a staging service, the home stager provides a list of changes to make and acts as a neutral advisor as you de-personalize your home. They may advise you to strip wallpaper, change a bold paint color, and put lots and lots of things in storage. A home stager will create a plan and help you find movers, storage facilities, painters and cleaners to get the job done.

Should You Stage the Home Yourself?

If you’re on a tight budget, it’s fairly easy to find tips on how to stage your home, and handle the project yourself. Just be sure to factor in your own time, and consider whether you have the resources to get the work done. If you already have an attractively-furnished home, your listing agent can offer expert advice on staging techniques to make your home more marketable. They may even recommend a professional home stager for a walk-through consultation. For a small fee, you’ll receive professional advice and a plan that you can implement yourself.

Is Home Staging Worth the Expense?

Demand for home staging services has increased dramatically in the last several years, as statistics show that staging helps properties sell faster. According to the National Association for Realtors, staging increases the sale price of the home anywhere from 1 to 15 percent. If you’re living in the home, a faster sale avoids the stress of keeping a spotlessly clean home for weeks, or even months, while it’s for sale. When you factor in the cost of carrying an empty home while it’s on the market, including home staging in your selling plan makes good financial sense.  

If you are interested in staging your home, contact one of our realtors at (781) 593-6111 to review your options and discuss whether staging is right for your home and budget.  


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