Not since before the Great Recession has Chicago seen such a housing market boom. Chicago is one among a leading group of dynamo U.S. cities that boasts elevated liquidity, a robust economy, and influential culture. It comes as no surprise, then, that 2021 has brought record-breaking buyer’s demand and homes in short supply. In the first months of 2021 alone, the city saw a 15% increase in the median sales price (from $235,000 to $270,000).
So what does all that good news mean for your 2022 home listing?
Procrastination is the Pits
There is an often-referenced phenomenon called Parkinson’s Law, which expresses that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” Putting things off is human nature, but in the case of procrastination, the final result is generally stress, overwhelm, and the ironic feeling that we’ve fallen behind.
This delay in action happens consistently with residential real estate decisions because the weight of the impending work to prepare your home to list often feels heavier than the actual work itself. Statistics regarding a hot market make it tempting to sell, to be sure...but doom can set in as soon as the last snow melts. The question then quickly becomes: Where do I begin, and how fast can I get it done?
Spring cleaning is tough enough, and that is without having to consider what a future buyer might find appealing. So, in favor of waiting until March when the market is already saturated and thriving, it is advantageous to consider starting the preparation process now.
A Cure for Cabin Fever
While nearly impossible to believe, next March will mark two years since the Covid-19 virus ravaged the world. Things have improved in Chicago and across the county, but we still aren’t the way we were… at least not yet. This means many of us are looking ahead to another untraditional winter and holiday season – perhaps fewer parties, less shopping, and a bit more time on our hands. Since the early days of the pandemic, people have universally become more acutely familiar with the homes in which they live -- and have in turn made important decisions about moving on (or staying put). “Home” changed from the place we return to, to the place we stay -- all the time. So, it would seem natural that our universal tendency would be to examine where and how we live.
If you are among the many people in Illinois who have decided a spring listing is definitely in your future, utilize the quieter winter months to work on indoor repairs, make aesthetic improvements, and create a listing timeline with your broker. Spending more time at home has helped people realize what their home represents to them, and what they want more or less of. If you’ve made the decision that you’re ready to move on, consider spending your year-end getting ready to go.
Clean House, Clear Head, Can’t Lose
Preparing your home for a spring listing is more than just punch lists and decluttering. Here are some ideas that can get you started, right now:
-Start making repairs yourself, or research contractors who can help.
-Donate, deep clean, and organize. Start with closets and then go room to room.
-Make a list of your most immediate aesthetic to-dos.
-Make a plan for spring landscaping.
-Modernize outdated eyesores (think light fixtures and paint colors).
-Research the market trends in your neighborhood.
-Consult a stager or designer who could help to aptly prepare your home to sell.
-Chat and partner with KlopasStratton to achieve your goals!
Head Start into the 2022 Market
The real estate surge of 2021 might be calming down, but that’s all relative. According to the Chicago Tribune, “…the Illinois Association of Realtorsprojected  prices and sales in the Chicago area will [continue to} remain far above 2020 numbers in the coming months…”
That forecast fares well for prospective home sellers, especially those who are ready before the first spring bud blooms. The pressure for a rapid turnaround in the spring doesn’t have to be daunting. Getting a head start can set you apart – and set you up for a successful sale.
Spring will be here sooner than you think! The early bird catches the worm. The early preparer… catches the buyer.
A KlopasStratton blog by: Bridget Chambers, Life Coach, Writer