It’s a difficult market for those looking to sell their home. Despite recent indications that housing sales may once again be picking up, this is still clearly a buyers market. Prices are down, inventory is up, foreclosures are abundant, home loans are more difficult to obtain and few people are looking to buy. The current conditions clearly favor buyers, not sellers.
Even so, there are still many people out there who are selling their home. Whether this is because they seek an upgrade or a downgrade, whether their family is growing or shrinking, whether they want a community with better schools or a city with better jobs, there are countless reasons for people to put their home on the market – even during a housing bust.
If you’re looking to sell you probably have a good reason for doing so, and it’s not worth sitting around in your current home, waiting for a recovery in a housing market that is likely to take years to improve. Still, especially during times like these, it is important to put your house on the market at a time that can maximize its price. Here are a few suggestions for doing this in today’s climate:
Foreclosed homes in your neighborhood can serve to lower the sale price of your home. This happens because some potential buyers may get lured away from your home by the cheaper foreclosure prices. At the same time, other buyers will check the statistics and avoid neighborhoods with high numbers of foreclosures. In today’s market, such stats can be powerful resale indicators. While you can’t eliminate the foreclosed homes that sit in your neighborhood, if most of them are owned by just a few banks (as is often the case in a local area) you can do some research and see if a bulk auction of these homes is planned anytime soon. If there is, you may want to put your home on sale sometime shortly afterwards.
Take A Walk Down Your Block
Similarly, potential buyers will likely view your block as an indicator of your home’s long-term value. A block with no sale signs and healthy amounts of construction will come across as more secure than a block where signs are everywhere and homes sit in disrepair. If a neighbor is going to sell your house, perhaps it’s best to let them sell first. The reason being that they’ll most likely fix up the home and the new homeowners will continue to make improvements, raising the value of your own house next door.
Check The Short-Term Value
Even though your home’s value has likely trended downwards over the past few years – or, if you’re lucky remained relatively stagnant – values fluctuate up and down over a more condensed time period. With this in mind, use a website like zillow.com to check your home’s monthly value over the last couple years. If you see any cyclical process at work or any sign that the value has already bottom out, you can time this information to match with the date you put your house on the market.
You can also keep up to date with current interest rates. When rates are low, there will be more buyers looking to get a fixed rate loan or an adjustable rate mortgage. When rates are high, you can expect less buyers which means you’ll have to lower your price to make your home more attractive to the buyers out there.