The days are growing longer, the temperatures are warming, and my garden is once again, coming alive. Spring is my favorite time of year with each new day unveiling a fresh and colorful revelation, AND as I genuinely enjoy gardening, I'm known to putter in it quite a bit. Forget your designer jewelry, Manolo Blahniks, or Birkin bags, if there's any shopping in my future, it's likely to be at a local nursery, because long after those expensive accessories are out of fashion, my roses will still be delivering bouquets.
As my garden is fairly well established, I'm primarily replacing plants that have either failed to thrive or have run their course. Still, if there's something beautiful that catches my eye, I'll find a spot to plant it, despite the fact that the beds are overflowing. Last week it was a lovely pink Dogwood calling my name.
"Dogwoods set their buds early," the nurseryman volunteered as I pushed my cart up the aisle, "so remember to feed them as soon as they are done blooming so you'll get the full benefit come next spring." (I didn't know that about Dogwoods, but thank you.)
Houses aren't a whole lot different with respect to a proactive approach in order to reap greater benefits down the road. For those Sellers who contacted Sarah and me last fall, we set to work right away, which means that many of those houses have either already come to market, OR are well on their way. However, for those Homeowners who are reaching out just now, hoping to sell in the next month or so, more often than not, they are finding themselves waiting in line.
Let's remember that even if your house is perfect (and we've yet to meet that house), both the city in which you live, and the county of Alameda have "point-of-sale" ordinances that require sidewalk inspections, sewer inspections, energy audits, and the like. A permit history takes a minimum of three weeks in Piedmont before it is issued, and inspectors, painters, stagers, window washers, and movers are all booked weeks in advance. In other words, take a number; we're juggling everybody's calendars - not just yours, and not just ours.
While those beautiful photos seen on Instagram and Facebook may look like an impromptu moment, they are anything but, requiring weeks and sometimes months of meticulous preparation and curation. Nearly every house benefits from painting, gardening, cleaning, and staging, but some require more intensive and invasive procedures that include kitchen and bathroom makeovers, floor refinishing, new windows, etc. And nearly all houses will undergo inspections that include both home and pest to determine the overall condition and well-being of the structure. Red-flag any major components and we may also order a roof, chimney, HVAC, foundation, or pool inspection if they are warranted.
This isn't to say that there isn't the rare opening or cancellation, but as a well-defined plan of action, a minimum of 3-4 weeks is required to bring your property to market, assuming all goes well. Speaking for our team, we prefer a running start, as opposed to a panicked last-minute phone call. In other words, if a spring sale is your intention, I hope you have already reached out. If not, do so anyway and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.
Appropriately, most of the Homeowners we are speaking to right now are anticipating marketing their homes in the fall, which is an excellent time to sell. Truth be told, with demand still far outstripping supply, there doesn't seem to be a bad time of year here in the Bay Area. However, there are preferred periods where demand surges even higher - spring being one of them. Moreover, interest rates are expected to rise several more times throughout the year in an effort to tamp down runaway inflation that includes soaring housing prices as well. Whether that affects Bay Area prices remains to be seen.
Whatever the future, let's get to work setting those buds. The fall will be upon us before you know it.
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Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 17 years and has published more than 650 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.