You need to sell your home in Sarasota, and fast.
But there’s good news: Sarasota, Florida is a seller’s market. As of this writing, there’s only 799 homes available on the market; on average, a home in Sarasota stays on the market for just 118 days. But there are steps you can take to get your home sold in less time than that, and ensure that your home fetches the right price.
Just as you wouldn’t be caught dead in a Hawaiian shirt on a trading floor in Manhattan, what works for sellers in other cities might not be the best use of your time and resources selling your house in Sarasota, Florida. When planning your next move, consider the context of the location and its specific qualities.
Any discussion of selling a home fast in Sarasota needs to take into consideration the very real issue of seasonal residents and their impact on home sales. With winter residents seasonally increasing southwestern Florida’s population by as much as 22% each year, chances are that your buyer will be a seasonal or aspiring seasonal resident.
“Our market is made up largely of second homeowners,” says Andree Huffine, a top real estate agent at Coldwell Banker Residential in Sarasota. “They may have a home up north, and they are buying a second home here for seasonal use.”
With so many snowbirds, the real estate cycle changes slightly to cater to their schedules.
“We do have more closings during the season [from December into the beginning of May]. However, we are a very strong year-round market also,” says Huffine, adding that many people will start their home search during a trip to the area, ending their search near the end of snowbird season. Huffine says that there’s a slight uptick in sales between February and April, just as the seasonal residents begin returning to return to cooler climates.
It’s also important to be mindful of real estate cycles in other regions of the country. “Another large part of our market are people relocating from other parts of the country,” says Huffine “Selling their home up north can impact purchase times down here.”
But Huffine is adamant that selling a home needs to happen when the seller is ready, not before or after.
“The best time to sell is when the seller is ready to sell,” she says. If you’re motivated to sell your house in Sarasota then you can, and should, sell anytime.
5 Ways to Get The Ideal Sarasota Look
Another unique quality of the Sarasota market is that much of the housing stock is relatively new and modern. While older houses from the 1950s and 1960s are fairly common downtown and there are pockets of houses from the 70s and 80s, a higher percentage of the local housing stock has been built since the turn of the last century than in many cities.
Unlike in older cities, your biggest competitor will be new construction, and if your home was built more than a decade ago, it will have lost it’s “new house feel.” But don’t despair: You can remain competitive with the new kids on the block by ensuring it looks stylish, up to date, well-maintained, and clean.
1. Open Up Your Space and Bring The Florida Vibes
“This is why it’s important to make your home look fresh,” says Huffine. Now is the time to add a fresh coat of paint and have your home deep cleaned prior to putting it on the market so that it looks well-maintained, clean, and inviting. And it goes without saying that now is the time to replace old mailboxes, house numbers, lawn ornaments, or anything else that might unintentionally age your home.
Cozy might be a winning look in some regions, but Sarasota is not one of them. Light, airy, modern, and spacious is the trademark Florida look.
Open floor plans are fashionable in every market right now, but they fit especially well with the flowy and open Floridian vibe. “Even in larger homes, people are moving away from having a formal living room with a separate family room. What’s popular now is… one big room [that] includes a kitchen, family room, living room, and dining room,” Huffine reports. So now might be a good time to consider removing extra partitions between rooms or, if you’re already considering remodeling, converting your space to a breezy and minimalistic floor plan.
2. Let the Sunshine In
You’re selling your house in Sarasota, Florida: the sunshine state!
“Florida living is all about bringing the outside in,” Huffine says. “It’s one of the reasons people move to Florida.” Plants, large windows, and blurring the line between outdoors and indoors all win points with Florida home buyers, allowing them to visualize themselves drinking a cafecito on the patio or planning their next beach day from the sunroom.
And you can never go wrong adding a palm tree to your home décor, even inside the house. Living rooms, entry ways, and even bedrooms can benefit immensely from this regional touch that brings a tropical feel to any space.
Decluttering is key to selling a home in any region, but this rule applies doubly here. In addition to removing personal items such as family photographs, knick-knacks, and old furniture, you’ll want to ensure that windows and doors are unobstructed to maintain the feel of a flow between the outside and inside.
“You don’t want a heavy sofa sitting in front of a sliding glass door,” says Huffine.
4. Consider Updating Your Floors and Countertops
Other décor trends Huffine reports seeing frequently in the Sarasota area include modern and fashionable floors made of materials such as wood and ceramic tile. Many sellers also opt to have fresh countertops added to their homes, and Huffine reports that quartz and concrete go particularly well when looking to play up the patio-living aesthetic.
5. Landscape Creatively to Enhance Privacy
Newcomers to Sarasota from other regions may be used to more privacy, and it might be a shock to them when they realize that their new neighbors are probably about ten feet away from them. Adding a hedge, a flowering bush, or (you guessed it!) a palm tree between your home and your neighbor’s property can prevent the shock of looking out your window and into the nearest neighbor’s living room. Additionally, a well-placed and maintained tree or shrub can add curb appeal to a home.
What You May Need to Repair If You’re Selling a House in Sarasota
Speaking of curb appeal in Sarasota, it’s important to keep both the house and the yard in great shape when preparing to put a home on the market. Now is the time to make any repairs or finally get around to any quick fixes you may have been neglecting.
Start with some simple gardening: Due to the heavy rains Sarasota experiences in summers, it’s easy for a lawn to become unkempt and overgrown. Hiring a landscaper or gardener might be worth the extra money. If you choose to go the do-it-yourself route, be sure to give the shrubs and grass a proper pre-sales trimming.
Then go around the outside of the house and do some touch-up: Homes in Florida are spared much of the weather-related wear and tear experienced by residential structures in northern states, but it’s likely you will need to make at least a few touch-ups to the building prior to putting your home on the market.
“If the home is on the water, on the gulf or the bay, it has a lot of exposure to salt water,” says Huffine, adding that this can cause wear and tear to windows, doors, and building exteriors. Mold and mildew buildup are also concerns due to the high humidity in Florida.
The solution is a fresh coat of paint, pressure cleaning, and having the home detailed, just like you would a car prior to selling, says Huffine. It’s fairly inexpensive and can make all the difference in selling your home quickly.
Pick the Right Sarasota Realtor if You Want to Sell Your House Fast
If you’re tempted to sell your home in Sarasota yourself, stop!. The only way to get the best possible outcome from selling your house in Sarasota is to find a top real estate agent with extensive knowledge of the Sarasota area. This is doubly true if you need to sell your Sarasota house fast.
“It is so critical for a home seller to know that their Realtor has strong [area] market knowledge…. The Realtor needs to have market knowledge in order to appraise and sell the home, and to target the right buyers,” says Huffine. The same way that you wouldn’t pull your own tooth or represent yourself in court, this is just a job for the pros.
As a prospective seller, the first question you should ask a potential Realtor is about their history selling in your market. Inquire about their area knowledge, their track record for home sales in your area, and how long they’ve sold locally.
To get a sense of how familiar your potential Realtor is, ask him or her to prepare and present a market analysis. The analysis should include comparable sales within a similar geography, size, and 5-10 years of age as the home you are looking to sell.
Top real estate agents in Sarasota have much more experience than their peers, selling on average over 200 more homes over the course of their careers than their less successful competitors. Also, top real estate agents in Sarasota, Florida, will sell a home in half the time of an average agent.
Remember the 118 days it takes, on average, to sell a home in Sarasota? A top agent takes just 63 days to sell a home in Sarasota.
In short, choosing the right agent to sell your home could impact whether you end up with a frustrating experience trying to sell your Sarasota home quickly, or have a pleasant experience where you feel as though you worked with someone who had the right level of expertise to capably help you.
Go find a top real estate agent in Sarasota if you want to sell your house fast. The right real estate agent can make a huge difference.