By Chris Hodges, Columnist
As local real estate market conditions change, so do the trends and tactics of buying and selling homes. In the past, sellers controlled the market, calling all the shots: they could set the prices, resist making improvements, and demand terms in contract negotiations.
Tables turned in the wake of the housing recession, which created an aggressive buyers’ market. Now, a new kind of sellers’ market is emerging, tempered by lessons from the past. Sellers in this environment will benefit from knowing what to expect and employing a few sensible strategies:
1. Market conditions set the price. Although housing prices are increasing, we are still in a price-driven market. Inventory is low, but buyers are still waiting patiently for perfect properties and fair prices. The new buyer is more educated than ever. With websites like Trulia.com and Zillow, buyers are able to keep close tabs on market conditions before they ever contact a realtor.
2. Staging makes a big impact. Buyers expect a lot. During the recession, buyers were able to take advantage of a flood of foreclosures on the market. Everyone knew someone who got the “deal of the century.” Although market conditions have changed, buyers still have high expectations and want a lot of bang for their buck. A house that is staged well gives that “wow” factor. Buyers want to be wowed.
3. Polished Internet marketing opens the door for buyers. Most buyers shop for property online before they ever contact a realtor about seeing it live. Your property has to make a good first impression on the Internet to attract buyers and the buyer’s agents. To accomplish that, your realtor should take and post high resolution pictures and/or videos of your property once it is staged.
4. Smells can repel. Get rid of pet smells. Cat smells can be especially offensive to buyers; so place those litter boxes outside before your house is shown. One of the best ways to make your home smell enticing is to bake homemade chocolate chip cookies prior to a showing. These are just a few things a seller can think about in preparing to list his/her home. Educated, willing sellers who collaborate with experienced, professional realtors on these matters can sell their property in a timely manner.