So the Elmases aren’t taking any chances. They’re attempting to ratchet up their Virginia home’s appeal.
They’re making their already lavish back yard — which has a swimming pool, a pond with a fountain, an outdoor bar and kitchen, and several patios — even more attractive to the dwindling supply of buyers.
“We’re power-washing everything, including the retaining walls and the patios, and we’ve added an outdoor TV to the bar,” Carr Elmas says. “Besides putting out all the umbrellas and cushions for the chairs, we’re putting potted flowers on the tables to match the cushions, and we placed some potted hibiscus trees around the pool. We’ve got a drinks setup on the bar and added throw pillows to the outdoor couch.”
Generally, home sales peak in spring, with a second rush of sales in the fall. Although sales may not be quite as slow in summer as in the doldrums of January and February, typically fewer homes go under contract in July and August than in the spring.
Selling in summer requires a slightly different strategy, experts say.
“August is the slowest of the summer months in real estate because people take family vacations, Congress is out and even the president goes on vacation,” says Barbara Ciment, an associate broker with Long & Foster Real Estate in North Bethesda.
Michelle Morris, a real estate agent with Re/Max Gateway in Chantilly, says seasonal market shifts are more pronounced in the suburbs, because parents tend to be sensitive to the school calendar.
“Parents want to make sure their kids are settled into their new home before school starts, so they try to find a home in the spring and move in the summer,” Morris says. “At the very least, parents want to have a home under contract before July Fourth, which means that sellers have a very short window of time for a summer sale.”
Laura McCaffrey, an agent with Evers & Co. Real Estate in Bethesda, says the lack of inventory this year may change the dynamic of the summer market.
“Traditionally, the housing market slows down after Memorial Day because people [go] on vacation and kids are in camp and parents are more distracted,” McCaffrey says. “The only homes still on the market in summer were considered ‘leftovers’ that hadn’t sold in the spring because they were overpriced or had something wrong with them. But this year, because so few homes are on the market, we may actually see more buyers out in the summer and, hopefully, more sellers will decide to list their homes.”
Adam Gallegos, a broker with Arbour Realty in Arlington County, expects the summer market to be about as busy as the spring market was this year.
“Buyers who can’t find anything in the spring will just keep looking all summer,” he says. “A lot of buyers are flexible and can move at any time of year. At the same time, buyers are distracted in the summer with vacations and a busier social calendar, so they’re less focused on buying a home.”