Sellers Market Going Cold? Avoid These 5 Seller Pitfalls to Keep that Hot Market Feeling!
By Diane Bilke
Are you considering selling your house over the coming year? As inflationary pressures and interest rates rise, keep that hot market vibe going by avoiding these 5 common seller mistakes!
For nearly two years, we've experienced a rarefied sellers market across the nation. Buyer demand outstripping inventory, leading to multiple offers over list price, appraisal contingency waivers, and all-cash offers wooing sellers and winning deals. It's been exhilarating for some, stressful beyond measure for others. While "experts" seem to agree that prices will remain steady for the foreseeable future, there are also signs the hot sellers market is beginning to cool... at least a bit. For buyers, this is welcome news. But, if you're a homeowner thinking of selling in the coming months, you may want to take notice of the changing winds in the market.
Inflation has touched every aspect of our buying habits. From gasoline and food to building supplies and property taxes, everything costs noticeably more now. Interest rates are on the rise, and when combined with the affordability-busting price points that houses are commanding, the end result will be fewer buyers in the market. If a buyer, or more importantly their lender, decides they cannot afford the mortgage, they won't - they can't - make an offer on your house for sale.
As you consider selling your house over the coming year, know that even in a hot sellers market houses do not *actually* sell themselves. The MLS tells the tale of price reductions and even expired listings all throughout the past two years of historic buyer demand. Regardless of market conditions, adhering to proven preparation efforts and marketing tactics are key to selling quickly and for the highest price possible. Here are five common mistakes to avoid when selling your home.
1. Pricing Too High
Correctly pricing a home for sale is as much a function of sales psychology as it is an exercise in analyzing comps. Even if all signs point to a particularly lofty closed sales price, starting at or near that number often backfires, resulting in price reductions and extended days on market with no offers. If your list price starts out at the tip top of the price range.... you leave buyers no where to go. In essence, YOU are competing with your potential buyer instead of leaving room for buyers to compete with one another. You want the list price to attract the widest set of potential buyers, which means finding that balance point between asking too much and leaving money on the table. Working with an agent experienced in the nuances of pricing will help ensure you receive every dollar possible in your home sale.
2. Choosing to Not Make Needed Repairs
If netting as much money as possible at the closing table is your primary goal, selling your house "as is" just won't do. Homebuyers are paying record-high prices to secure shelter, and they want that shelter to be as move-in ready as possible. Unifying and updating wall colors throughout the home to an easy-on-the-eye neutral, replacing worn carpet, and updating light fixtures, are just a few relatively easy ways to boost your bottom line. When buyers are faced with calculating costs for updates or repairs, they inevitably estimate high, which diminishes the offer amount you receive. By investing dollars into high impact refreshes, you provide value that translates into a gratifying purchase amount.
3. Not Staging Your Space
I'm just going to be blunt here: smells, clutter, family photos, stacks of mail and receipts, pet hair, prized collections, kids toys, etc, etc. These are all normal, everyday realities of life. However, they all subtly work against you're efforts to sell fast and for a great price. Buyers have difficulty seeing past YOUR clutter and collections. Creating a "blank canvas" helps them envision THEIR clutter and collections in the space. According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2021 Profile of Home Staging Report, staging the living room was found to be very important for buyers (46%) followed by staging the primary bedroom (43%) and staging the kitchen (35%). If hiring a professional stager is not for you, here are some easy ways to make a difference.
- Open the windows regularly while also curtailing the home-cooked meals which leave aromas behind for days.
- You are, in fact, planning to move, so get ahead of the packing and box up family portraits, collectibles and out of season clothing.
- Clear off bathroom counters and keep a basket handy for quickly stashing toothbrushes and other personal care items into a cabinet or drawer when it's time for a showing.
4. Difficult Showing Requirements
Buyers are now conditioned to act as soon as possible when new listings come on the market. Armed with loan approval and verified funds, they are locked and loaded and ready to come see your new listing! And not just your listing, but every other house competing with yours. Even in a seller's market, you need as many people as possible to see your house. Cumbersome showing requirements or restricted availability will turn off some buyers and their agents, potentially diminishing the pool of offers you receive. Discuss your need for life balance with your agent to craft a thoughtful and welcoming showing schedule that will facilitate showings rather than prevent them.
5. Going FSBO Yes, I'm a licensed agent, so naturally I believe my services are valuable and necessary! Selling one of, if not the single, largest asset you own is not the time for DIY. Real estate agents are steeped in market knowledge, intimate with the proper contract documents and addenda for your type of real estate (a house contract is different from a land contract is different from a condo, etc.), are experienced in navigating the timelines for the contract to close phase, and have most likely experienced a host of problems in previous deals, meaning they will know what to do when challenges come up in your sale. If selling your house for the most money in the shortest amount of time is your top priority, then put the insight and skill set of a local real estate consultant into action to help reach that goal.
To wrap it up, when it's time to sell your house keep these points in mind, and call me! I will bring years of education and experience to your transaction. I sell in multiple markets across Texas, am a trusted pricing professional for the lending industry, and have sold everything from condos and mobile homes to suburban houses and land. You can count on me for a fresh perspective and a persevering mindset. Reach out to me today for a no-obligation consult: (817) 291-5046.
Thanks for reading!
1: Beracha, Eli and Michael J. Seiler, 2014, “The Effect of Listing Price Strategy on Transaction Selling Prices,” Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics