Any seasoned real estate agent or market observer will tell you that all real estate markets go through cycles. Your local market is no different. If you’re considering a home sale or purchase, you’ll want to identify your market’s cycle to take advantage of the best timing for buying or selling. Whether you are looking to buy a condo in Miami, FL or sell your home in Atlanta, GA, knowing your market is very important.
A seller’s market is prevalent in your area when these factors are in place:
- Inventory of available homes is low. There are fewer homes for sale than the number of buyers looking to buy. In this market, home listings don’t stay on the market long because competitive offers come in quickly.
- Interest rates are low. Low mortgage rates bring more buyers into the market, creating an opportunity for first-time homebuyers as well as for those looking for an upgrade. These low rates allow buyers to buy something special. Buyers who are wondering how much house they can afford may be looking to buy now because interest rates will be low and they may be able to afford more than they thought.
- Buyer’s demand is strong — bidding wars are up. When there is a housing shortage and inventory is low, more than one interested buyer causes the sales price to rise before the seller accepts the offer. These bidding wars are happening all over the country, and sellers can take advantage of the buyer’s demand. Bidding wars keep the prices strong and homes sell quickly and possibly for more money.
Tips for home sellers to make the most of a seller’s market
Be smart about your sales price. Some people may try to capture maximum profit from their home in a seller’s market by pricing their home at the very top of the range. While this tactic could work, your home is more likely to sit on the market longer than lower-priced counterparts. If your price is too high, you may have to make price adjustments before you finally sell. This could cause your home to sell for less than you wanted.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you price your home too low, hoping for a bidding war that never comes, you may have to accept less than you could have received. Talk with your real estate agent to get comparable sales prices or “comps” for your area. Having a good idea of how you should price your home according to the market can put you in an excellent position to sell your home quickly.
Stage your home. By eliminating clutter, removing excess items or furniture, neutralizing colors, and putting away most personal items, you present an opportunity for the buyers to visualize themselves living in the home. They can imagine their sofa where your sofa sits now. They get a feel for the size of the rooms and how to use the space. Hiring a professional stager can be a worthwhile investment, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve updated your home. The stager brings in neutral, modern, furniture, and accessories to give the house just the right look for today’s buyers. Staged homes have been shown to sell 73% faster than empty homes.
Choose the right “go-live” day for your listing. Thursdays are the best day to go live with a listing. This timing allows buyers to tour homes over the weekend and attend open houses for the newest homes on the market. Make sure your listing has high-quality images, a virtual or 3d interactive tour, or videos to showcase the house in the best light. Your go-live day can mean the difference between a quick sale or sitting on the market for an extra week.
Be ready to move. Many buyers don’t want to wait to move in. If you receive a strong offer, be prepared to move out in 30 days. That means if you haven’t secured your next home, you will need to store furniture in storage and potentially rent an apartment or hotel room until you can move into your new home. If the market is hot, you should be ready for a quick sale. If you already have a new home to move into, consider hiring a trusted moving company ahead of time so you can have a game plan for move out day.
Properly analyze your offers. In a seller’s market, a competitive listing generates multiple offers. Be prepared to look closely at various offers to determine the best one for you. Keep in mind that not all offers are the same.