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Selling Your Home in a Buyer’s Market

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When it comes time to sell your home, one of the first pieces of information you should take into account is the status of the market. Understanding whether you’ll be selling in a buyer’s market, a seller’s market, or in a balanced market will impact your sales strategy. It will also help you get the competitive edge you need to smartly price your home and sell it quickly. Being meticulous when selling your home in a buyer’s market, when buyers are more difficult to come by, is particularly important. Small touches in this kind of a market can make the difference between a lost bid and a sale.

What is a buyer’s market?

In its simplest terms, a buyer’s market comes about when there are more houses on the market than buyers are willing to purchase them. For buyers, this situation is ideal because eager sellers are competing for their bid and are often willing to decrease the asking price or throw in other perks to get a bid. For sellers, though, this means that homes are likely to stay on the market longer, and they may need to bring down the asking price to stay competitive.

How do I sell my home in a buyer’s market?

  1. Get creative with marketing your home. With fewer buyers in the market, you’ll want to get your listing in front of as many people as possible. Take advantage of traditional methods like posting signage in front of your home but also make sure you have a digital presence as well. Post your listing on social media and real estate websites. Use your own social media network and ask friends to post your listing to their networks as well. If you’re working with a real estate agent, ask what kinds of marketing tools they utilize and what they have available. Many real estate agents have a marketing team or access to a set of tools for marketing your home.

    Remember, distinguishing your listing from others is just as important as getting it in front of as many eyes as possible. Real estate agents can offer advice on creating compelling listings. If you’re not working with a real estate agent but you, or a friend, is a talented writer, now’s your time to shine. Creativity and attention to detail in your listing description could pay off in dividends. Just keep in mind, listing needs to clearly communicate basic information about a home without embellishing.
  2. Invest in a professional photographer. One of the most important determinants of buyer interest is the quality of the photographs in your listing. If you’re prioritizing a budget, this is one of the first places to invest your money. Get yourself a real estate photographer and follow his or her advice.

    To get your photos just right, stage your home so that each room has a purpose. Be sure to emphasize space and natural lighting. Also, minimize clutter by storing odds and ends in neat boxes, and remove any personal items. You may also consider painting your walls a neutral color to make them more universally appealing. A good photographer will be able to help guide you with staging ideas and tell you what time of day to photograph your home so that it looks its best.
  3. Price your home thoughtfully and identify where you’re willing to negotiate. Before you put your home up for sale, do your research to determine how you should set your asking price. Look into comparable properties currently on the market or recently sold in your neighborhood. You can also look up your home’s estimated value on real estate websites like Zillow. It might be tempting to set a low asking price to attract buyers, but make sure your home price reflects the value of your home. It’s okay to go slightly higher to leave yourself room to negotiate. Remember, you can always reduce the asking price later, but you can’t go back up.

    There are other factors to consider other than the price of your home. It’s important to know ahead of time where you’re willing to negotiate and where you won’t budge. For example, some sellers in particularly difficult markets will offer to pay some closing costs or even a few months of the buyer’s mortgage in order to close a deal. Before you list your home, make a list of expenses you are and are not willing to pay and the minimum you’re willing to accept for your home. You can change these numbers later if need be, but it’s important to establish a baseline for yourself in the beginning.
  4. Have a full home inspection done and be prepared to show proof. Besides stellar photography, another crucial strategy to attract buyers is streamlining the sale. Make buying your home as quick and uncomplicated as possible for the buyer. Get a full home inspection done before putting your house on the market. Be transparent about what the inspector finds and volunteer to make some recommended repairs as well. Keep the paperwork handy when you meet with buyers and let them know what repairs you are making.
  5. Look at the bright side. Try to enjoy the selling process. Keeping a positive attitude will make selling your home a pleasant experience. That positivity will shine through when you meet with potential buyers. It may seem obvious, but buyers like to buy homes from happy people. Buying a home is an emotional investment. Keep it positive at every step of the selling process, all the way to the closing table.

A buyer’s market may require some creative legwork to distinguish your home from other properties, but with some careful planning and following the steps above, you’ll be on your way to selling your home in no time.

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