A buyer's market in real estate is when there are more homes for sale than buyers. During a buyer's market, home prices lower and homes sit on the market longer. The real-estate market varies wildly from region to region, so even if it's not a buyer's market in other parts of the country, it could be in your area. If that's the case, you'll need to work harder to make your home appealing to buyers so that it sells at a reasonable price and doesn't sit unsold for too long. Take a look at some proactive steps you can take to help ensure a faster sale at a better price.
Get Your Home in Shape Before Listing
In a market where there are plenty of buyers, it may not matter that your home has a few problems. You could negotiate with an interested buyer to either fix the problem and accept the asking price or let them fix the problem in exchange for a lower price. But in a buyer's market, you may not have many sellers to negotiate with. If they can find another home without those problems, why bother negotiating with you? That's why it's a good idea to get your home into shape before you put it on the market. This increases the chances that you'll have sellers considering your home in the first place.
Start by springing for a home inspection. This will probably cost at least $400, but it's well worth the cost. If the inspection finds no major problems, you'll be able to show proof to interested sellers that your home is a good buy that's worth their consideration. If there are problems, you have the opportunity to fix them beforehand, and then you can advertise the home improvement as one of the benefits of buying your house. Plus, you'll reduce your chances of a seller backing out at the last minute upon discovery of an unknown problem.
Create a Marketing Plan
There are a lot of different strategies that can help sell a house: it's choosing the right strategies that can be difficult. Where will you advertise? Which online sites are best? Will you use signs or pamphlets with QR codes? What features of your home and neighborhood should you emphasize to attract buyers? Will you have an open house? Should your home be professionally staged?
This is a good time to contact a real-estate agent. While many of these strategies can be undertaken by a seller, in a market with few buyers, you can't afford any missteps. A real-estate agent who is familiar with your local community will know whether buyers looking in your area are more interested in the great school district or the proximity of shopping and entertainment. They'll know which websites sellers are looking at and what kind of promotional material is most appealing. They'll have contacts with home stagers and other professionals. When you're in a buyer's market, it's not a good time to go it alone. Get professional help to devise a high-quality marketing plan.
Resist the Urge to Overprice
You may have heard that you should set the price higher to give yourself wiggle room to negotiate down to the price you really want. There's room for debate about whether this is a sound strategy at any time, but in a buyer's market, this can definitely backfire on you. If the price is too high, buyers may not even consider your home in the first place.
Of course, you don't want to undervalue your home either, but it's important to be realistic. Do some research into home sales in your area and find out what prices similar homes are selling for. You can use that information as a basis to set a reasonable price for your home.
A buyer's market doesn't necessarily mean that your home will sit for a long time or that you won't get a good price, but it does mean that you have less room to make mistakes. With a good local real-estate agent and some careful planning, you'll be able to make a good deal in a reasonable amount of time.