There’s no doubt that a buyer’s market can be challenging for sellers. Yet it does not mean that sellers cannot enter the market – or that they cannot garner a fair price for their homes. Home sales in a buyer’s market may take longer. But a little creativity can go a long way toward help sellers move homes, without having to significantly drop the price.
1. Price Your Home According to the Current Market
Just because a house comparable to yours sold for a very high price last year does not mean you will be able to realize the same price when selling your home now. Work with a full-service real estate professional to determine the appropriate, competitive listing price for your home. Remember that in this market, your sales associate may encourage a list price in accordance with others currently on the market, rather than those previously sold.
2. Be Realistic About Appreciation
Since the housing market began to slow significantly in late 2007, home prices have fallen all over the country. Yet understanding trends in your specific market is critical – as not all areas have experienced the same drops. Some regions of the country have remained more steady relative to prices, and are even back to experiencing modest appreciations. And if you bought your home many years ago, the gains you made in the decades before the downturn may still be far more than recent drops. So speak with your real estate professional to get a realistic view on how your home has gained or lost, relative to its value and potential price.
3. Make Your Home More Marketable
When a buyer sees your house for the first time, a critical first impression is made. If applicable, maximize curb appeal by trimming trees and planting flowers. A fresh exterior coat of paint might also prove valuable. Consider neutral colors for interior walls and carpets. Dark colors on walls, along with unnecessary clutter, make rooms look smaller.
4. Conduct a Full Home Inspection
If repairs are required, it is a good idea to go ahead and fix the problems. Potential buyers will cast an extremely critical eye over your home and, in a situation when more houses are available on the market, they may take a pass on a home that needs too many repairs. Be sure to have the home inspection report available for prospective buyers itemizing all of the repairs that have been made and the associated cost for each.
5. Offer a “Seller’s Contribution”
A seller can sweeten the deal by offering assistance to the buyer in ways that do not require lowering the asking price. These tactics can help your home to stand out from the crowd. For example:
- Offer to buy down the interest rate on the buyer’s mortgage.
- Offer to pay a portion of the closing costs.
- Cover the buyer’s mortgage payments for up to the first six months. Depending upon the size of the mortgage, the buyer can save several thousand dollars and the seller still gets the original asking price for the home. It is generally more financially advantageous to do this than dropping the asking price by $30-, $20- or even just $10,000.
- Many condos and houses across the country belong to homeowners’ associations that require annual dues. Paying the first year’s fees could be a big incentive to a buyer nearing the limit of his or her liquid assets.
- Offer to pay off a buyer’s bills. According to Realty Times, some loan programs allow sellers to pay off the credit card debt or auto loans of the buyer which will help him or her qualify for a better mortgage and prevent the need to buy a smaller, less expensive house.
6. Don’t Worry
Properly priced homes that stand out from the competition are likely to sell.