Selling Your Home in a Buyers Market

Your house is for sale in a competitive market.  In fact, it's a buyers' market.  There are far more homes for sale than willing and able buyers.  So how do you successfully sell your property without practically giving it away?  Here are a few tips:
Set a competitive price from the start.  It is understandable that, as a seller, you want to get the best possible price for your home.  You need to careful however not to overprice.  If your home is priced higher than what the current market will bear, it is likely to attract a smaller pool of buyers.  Those that might otherwise have been interested may cross your property off their list without ever seeing it.   Chances are also good that your overpriced home will linger on the market while comparable properties that are competitively priced sell faster.  You should also not get caught up in the notion that you can set a higher price at the beginning because you many need to drop the price later.  Real estate studies show that buyer interest is high when a home is fresh on the market.  By the time you lower your price, interest may have waned.

Get your home in tip-top condition.   Preparing your home for showings in a competitive market involves more than eliminating clutter, cleaning every corner, and lighting aromatic candles.  Take care of cosmetics that might detract from your home's appeal and fix all obviously needed repairs.  Touch up the interior and exterior paint if needed.  Clean or replace carpet.  Maximize curb appeal with attractive and well-kept landscaping.  Think about getting a pre-sale inspection so that you know the current condition of your property.  You may discover issues that can delay or kill your sale.  You can also decide which repairs you will make and which you will disclose to the buyer, pointing out of course how the price is adjusted in light of those repairs.

Prepare yourself financially to avoid a quick price dive.  If your need to sell is not urgent but waiting for a more favorable market is not an option, make a financial plan for selling without significant loss.  Consider the possible advantages of using a home equity line or loan to temporarily boost your financial reserves.  This could help keep panic at bay and reduce the pressure of having to make hefty price concessions early in your sale process.  Those funds could also come in handy for completing needed repairs that are discovered during an inspection -- repairs that could make the difference between no sale and a profitable one.
Maximize marketing exposure.   The more prospects that know about your home the better.  If you are selling on your own, get familiar with avenues available for advertising your home -- Internet, area newspapers, flat fee multiple listing services, real estate publications, etc.  If you are considering working with a real estate agent, ask about their plan for marketing your home so that it gets maximum exposure.

Compromise and incentivize.  Remember that homes do not sell based on price alone.  Price and terms work together to result in a successful sale.  Be prepared to make reasonable concessions and strike a balance on terms as well as price.  Consider incentives that can make the value of buying your home stand out from the competition.  For instance, an offer to pay some of the closing costs can be a major motivator for buyers.

Most of all, don't be discouraged by the fact that the market is not in your favor.  Remember that homes sell in all markets.  And when you take steps to improve your competitive position, you also improve your chances of being rewarded with a quicker sale and a higher offer.

Information is for educational and informational purposes only and is not be interpreted as financial or legal advice. This does not represent a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security. Please consult your financial advisor.