If you’ve been on the fence trying to decide whether or not to put your home up for sale, there may not be a better time in recent history to take a chance.
Demand has increased as buyers try to take advantage of record low interest rates on mortgages. Home prices have increased, inventories have fallen, sparking bidding wars in some markets and the median number of days that a home stays on the market before being sold has fallen. All of these factors indicate that a would-be seller’s best opportunity to sell the house and be able to sell quickly, is now.
According to Corelogic, the average home price across the nation rose 8.3% over the previous year in December.
The total number of previously owned homes listed on the market as of January fell to 1.74 million units, which was a decrease of 25% from the previous year, according to the National Association of Realtors. That puts inventory across the nation at the lowest level in 13 years. The group also reported that the median number of days that a house stayed on the market before being sold in January was 71 days. That shows that half of all the homes sold were sold in that period of time. The median number of days before being sold the previous year was 99 days.
To actually get what you’re asking for and to do it quickly, you should be proactive. First, you should assess the conditions of the market where you are located by researching home prices, inventory of available homes in the area, any competition that you might have from foreclosure properties, and the average time a home is sold in.
There are many other ways to be proactive. Here are a few to consider.
- Shop Around for the Right Agent
There are sellers that want to handle all aspects of the process themselves, but if you aren’t one of them, you’ll need to get an agent. Be sure to interview more than one. You should look for an agent that has sold homes in your neighborhood because they will likely be able to assess your home and its value for the market you are in. They will also have a good idea of how to market your property to attract the buyers you’re looking for.
- Be Realistic About the Market Value
Homes won’t sell for what they could have in 2006. You need to focus on what your home is worth and what you can sell it for in today’s market. A good indicator of what you can get can be found by researching recent sales of comparable homes in your area. Pay particular attention to homes that are competing against you on the market. If they’ve been on the market for a while, they’re probably overpriced. Well priced properties sell quickly, while overpriced houses sit on the market for months.
- Don’t Get Too Greedy
The falling inventories and increase in demand has many sellers thinking they can set their price higher than they normally would have. If the price is too high, many buyers will likely see what is going on and look for a different property. A well-priced property will probably get almost 10 showings the first week it’s listed. Overpriced properties usually sit on the market until the seller lowers the price closer to market value.
- The Internet Can Be A Great Marketing Tool
The majority of prospective buyers now use the internet to search for a home before they go to look at it. Because of this, you need to carefully select the photos you use and what type of photos you show. Try not to show too many photos of a particular room of feature. Instead, focus on the front of the home to show its curb appeal, the living room, kitchen, master bedroom and bathroom and the back yard. Include a few photos of any special rooms or features.
Searches for homes are often sorted by price on internet sites. Buyers will often search in increments of around $25,000 to $50,000. Keeping this in mind, you should try to stick to a round number. If you list your home for $300,000, you should get coverage from buyers searching from $250,000 to $300,000 and $300,000 to $350,000.
- Consider the Terms of Multiple Offers
If you have multiple offers on your home, they should be weighed carefully with you focusing not only on the price of the offer, but the terms.
You might want to consider a buyer willing to pay more towards a down payment over one that won’t even if they have a higher offer because their deal is more likely to fall through. A higher down payment often helps the buyer get approved for a mortgage faster, meaning your sale goes through faster and with less complications.
- Make Sure Your Home is Ready to Show
Even though inventories are at 13 year record lows, if your home looks dirty and cluttered, it will likely sit on the market longer than if it wasn’t. You should at least add a coat of paint to high traffic areas and touch up others, have the carpets, furniture and curtains or shutters cleaned and declutter your home. All of these are inexpensive. They do require your time, but they could end up being a good payoff when your home sells quickly at your asking price just because of a fresh coat of paint and some cleaning.
- Be Prepared For the Appraisal
According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors in January, roughly 30% of agents reported that low appraisals caused cancelation, delay, or a renegotiation of the purchase of a home.
The chances of this happening to you can be reduced by providing the appraiser that appraises your home with a list of examples of sales of homes comparable to yours in the area. Be sure to list any special features that your home has compared with the others, such as a renovation to the kitchen or a swimming pool.