When home prices fall, supplies of homes for sale increase, and buyers become more demanding, it’s a buyer’s market. That doesn’t mean you can’t sell your home for a fair price. You just have to work harder to make it happen.
A buyer’s market is not the time to represent yourself. It may be tempting to recoup some equity by not paying a real estate agent, but you’ll lose more than you’ll gain. A real estate professional can give you an accurate overview of the market, help you with strategies, and bring offers from qualified buyers.
Make your home pristine
In a buyer’s market, only location and condition can move buyers to pay more for any home. You can’t do anything about location, but you can take condition out of the equation. There’s a huge difference between a home that “doesn’t need a thing” and a home that “needs work.” Show pride of ownership by putting your home in top move-in condition so that your home is more appealing to buyers than any other home in your price range.
Price it right
You can expect lowball offers in a buyer’s market, but homes that are priced fairly and in pristine condition will be treated with more respect by buyers. Pricing according to recent sold comparables might not be as smart as pricing to pending sales – those yet to close. You have to know what your bottom line is, but pricing your home should have nothing to do with how much you owe creditors, how much cash you need to buy your next home or how much you need for your retirement or any other reason. Buyers will only pay current or pending market value as determined by the most recent comparables.
Keep negotiations pleasant
Negotiation is a fine art, and typically works best when both parties get what they want. For example, you may be willing to take less money in exchange for a cash offer or a quicker closing. Your buyer may be willing to pay your asking price, but they may ask you to pay their closing costs. You’ll quickly realize if you’re dealing with a sincere buyer. Respond to the buyer’s negotiations with documentation, receipts and other information in a timely manner. If you feel the buyer isn’t negotiating in good faith, simply stop negotiations. You’re under no obligation to respond to an unreasonable offer. The buyer will get the message. Buyer’s markets work for sellers, too. Keep in mind that when you buy your next home, you’ll be able to take advantage of falling prices, too. Think about the future – that you can repurchase more home for less money next time. It all evens out.