Real Estate Sellers FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions by Sellers:

When is the best time to sell my home?
What is the difference between list price and sale price?
How much is my home worth?
What is a home sale contingency?


When is the best time to sell my home?

Because the real estate market varies from year to year, there is not a single, concrete answer to this question. However, there are certain trends from year to year to help guide your decision.

In general, the spring is the best time to sell your home because this is often when the market receives the most attention from buyers. This period often extends into the summer and tapers off when school starts again in the fall. The specific peak selling months can vary from year to year, depending on the weather and the state of the economy. For instance, in the northeast in 2015, the prime selling period occurred later than usual because of the numerous snowstorms that hit the region in February and March. In more temperate years, the prime selling season can begin at the end of winter/early spring.

On Martha’s Vineyard, much of the real estate market is for second homes which means that seasonality plays an even greater role than usual. Typically the buying season starts in February and goes until late fall.

Selling Your Home on Martha's VineyardWhat is the difference between list price and sale price?

The list price is the price of the home as it currently set for sale. The sale price is the price that the buyer and seller eventually agree upon. Typically for sellers, it is best to set a list price close to what they realistically expect the sale price to be. This way the buyer’s expectations are appropriately set and the leads are more likely to result in a sale.

How much is my home worth?

While there are many tools on the web that can give you a rough estimate of your home’s value, these tools are unreliable. The best way to assess your home's value is to meet with a real estate agent to discuss the local market and your personal goals. We have agents who specialize in selling homes on Martha’s Vineyard and they would be happy to meet with you. Contact us today to get started.

Here are some of the most important factors when determining the value of a home:

  • Location - surrounding neighborhood, proximity to waterfront, schools, cultural centers, etc.

  • Number of Bedrooms and Bathrooms

  • Square Footage

  • Lot Size/Features

  • Kitchen and Bath Quality

  • Window and Roof Quality


What is a home sale contingency?


A home sale contingency is a type of contingency clause often included in real estate sale contracts. Essentially, a home sale contingency means that the transaction is dependent upon the successful sale of the buyer’s home by a specified date. If the buyer’s home doesn’t sell by the specified date, then the contract is voided.

There are two common types of home sale contingencies:

Sale and Settlement Contingency

This type of contingency is used if the buyer has not yet accepted an offer for their current home. With a sale and settlement contingency, the seller retains the ability to market the property to other interested parties. The stipulation is that if the seller receives another offer they must give the original buyer an opportunity to remove the sale and settlement contingency within a certain time period (usually 1-2 days) before accepting the new offer. If the buyer cannot remove the contingency the contract is terminated.

Settlement Contingency

A settlement contingency is used if the buyer has received an offer and has established a settlement date for their current home. This protects the buyer if the sale falls through last minute. Unlike a “Sale and Settlement,” this type of contingency prevents the seller from accepting other offers the property for a specified period. If the buyer successfully sells their home by the settlement date, the contract remains in tact. Conversely, if the buyer’s home fails to close then the contract is terminated.