Act according to the market
There are bigger factors in the national and regional economy that should be considered as you prepare to put your property up for sale. Being in a strong or weak market is crucial to how much you will be able to sell your home for. So, how do you know if you’re in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market?
Markets are measured by the amount of inventory that’s currently available, or the absorption rate, says Walsh. The absorption rate is calculated by dividing the number of home sales per month by the number of available homes. If the absorption rate is above six months, it’s a buyer’s market. Anything below six months is a seller’s market. A six-months absorption rate is a balanced market. A realtor in your area can provide you with this data. Walsh says you also can keep track of how many days homes are staying on the market by observing what’s selling in your neighborhood.
If the market is strong:
- Put paperwork in order. If a fast offer seems even somewhat likely, be sure to have all the paperwork ready in the event the sale does through quickly.
- Have an interim housing plan. If you sell before closing on your future home, make plans to stay with family or in a secondary home. Limit the time you have to live in hotels or rentals. It’s not only expensive but gets old fast — especially with a family.
- Vet buyers carefully. Receiving dozens of offers is an enviable position to be in, but you’ll want to thoroughly evaluate those bidding to ensure you’re settling upon a highly qualified buyer who has his or her financing in order.
If the market is weak:
- Turn on the charm. In a buyer’s market, home staging and professional photography (costs you may be able to forgo in a seller’s market) will be important to help your listing stand out. If you’ve added energy-saving appliances, new windows or air-conditioning units that will reduce utility bills, talk that up to potential buyers.
- Put the word out. Tell friends and neighbors your home is on the market. You never know which friend-of-a-friend might be looking, and a buyer with a personal connection to your neighborhood might be more motivated than one coming in cold.
- Hold open houses. Giving buyers the opportunity to tour your home and imagine the possibilities in it can be a game-changer for an on-the-fence buyer.
- Lower the price. If the house simply won’t sell, you may want to consider strategically adjusting the list price. Even a modest drop can have an outsized psychological effect on buyers — who doesn’t love to think they’re getting a bargain?