By Julie McKinney

Almost daily I’m asked by friends and neighbors how our real estate market is doing. For the last several years the honest answer has been “it’s doing very well!” There’s no reason to think the market won’t thrive again this year. Buyers are already planning this year’s summer trips and inquiring about properties for sale. Some are looking for small weekend getaways, some for a lakefront retreat, some for investment, and some considering permanent relocation from areas that have too much snow or too much heat!

We want to sell our home. When should we list? In markets where buyers and sellers likely move from one home to another within the same locality there may not be a best time. In much of western North Carolina (outside of major towns like Asheville, Hendersonville, etc.) second homes and vacation rental properties make up a large share of the real estate market. In Lake Lure for example, listing between March and mid-May is often the best time as nature has come to life and the summer visitor traffic picks up. You certainly want to avoid being the new property on the market just as the peak tourist season is winding down.

What do we need to do to get ready? Your first step will likely be to consult with one or more real estate brokers to determine who will be the best fit to guide you through the listing and sale process. Together you’ll compare yours with similar homes that have recently sold and agree on an initial listing price. The broker prepares all paperwork, but there is plenty of work for you as a seller! Pretend you’re a potential buyer of your home and look at every aspect through a buyers’ eyes. As a buyer, what do you notice needs to be addressed that you the owner no longer notice? Start at the end of your driveway, walking to the front door, then do a complete interior walk-through, making a list of all the things you now see need attention. Get a head start on repairs and updates.

To expedite the listing process, have your home in show-ready condition as soon as possible. Do you need to de-clutter or de-personalize? Does the landscape need sprucing up? What might you need a handyman/contractor for? Once you’ve grasped the physical projects, begin collecting pertinent documents: copy of septic permit and documentation of private well installation if applicable, copy of your title insurance policy, any available survey, house plans you may have. While clearing out and straightening up, find a central location to place owner manuals, warranties or service receipts for the future owners’ reference.

Currently, homes are averaging 7.5 – 8 months on the market in and around Lake Lure (per MLS data). Don’t be discouraged if your property isn’t under contract the first week. The process takes some degree of patience – so tell all your friends and tell them to tell all their friends about your fabulous home for sale!

Julie McKinney is a Broker at Lake Lure Professionals Realty Group/Keller Williams 2975 Memorial Hwy, Lake Lure. 828-625-2552