5 Tips for Sellers in a Hot Market

As the weather heats up, so has the real estate market.  Many industry professionals will claim they haven’t seen a market like this since pre-recession years.  Whereas 2004-2007 was somewhat of a manufactured “hot” market with mortgages given to unqualified buyers, the current conditions can be attributed to a number of things including local demographics, a shortage in houses available, historically low interest rates, and a healthy economy.  Even though it’s a great time to have a house to sell, here are 5 tips to maximize your results.

    1. Hire an experienced and knowledgeable real estate professional: This might sound self-serving.  If the market is so hot, why do I need a Realtor to find a buyer?  You actually might NOT need a Realtor to find a buyer in a hot market, but you probably do need one to find multiple buyers or the RIGHT buyer.  Simply put, a Realtor® can drastically increase exposure of your property locally, regionally, and in some cases, nationally.  Often times, commissions are earned during the time between executed contract and closing with transactional management and problem solving.  Minor tips about timing, marketing, and negotiating can pay off big at the closing table.
    2. Don’t over price: “If the market is so hot, I’ll just list my house at 120% of its current market value.” This can lead to problems such as lack of interest and increased days on market.  Buyers are hungry and aggressive but not stupid.  Losing “momentum” quickly turns into buyers thinking something is wrong with the property after it has been on the market longer than the neighborhood norm.  A seasoned real estate professional can analyze the current market and arrive at a recommended listing price.  In reality, 9 out of 10 buyers will finance their purchase, especially when interest rates are low, and the property will ultimately have to appraise for the loan to be approved.
    3. Don’t be in such a hurry: You want to sell your house as soon as possible and move on to the next chapter in your life. It is not uncommon for desirable properties to have multiple offers written within a few days of hitting the market.  The first offer might not be the best offer, and sometimes the highest priced offer is not the cleanest offer (inspections, contingencies, etc.).  As a seller in a market with a shortage of homes available, you are in a position of power.  There is no need to be in a hurry.  Often, it pays dividends to allow reasonable exposure time which will maximize inquiries, showings and offers.  Some buyers will not be able to see your property within the 24 hours of hitting the market.  Allowing a full week to pass before considering an offer is a good way to deal with this issue.  Any buyer who would rescind an offer in this scenario probably isn’t in love with your home, anyway.
    4. Accessibility: For better or worse, we live in an age where an incredible amount of information is available at our fingertips. It may sound unreasonable to accommodate a showing request with less than an hour’s notice, but buyers get excited when they come across a property that checks off everything on their “must have” list – and they want to see it now.  Requiring 24-hour or advanced notice can lessen interest in your property.  That buyer could move on to another property in that time.  The temporary inconvenience of accommodating short-notice showings can lead to more dollars in your pocket and a quicker sale.
    5. Consider staging: We all know that in today’s age, buyers are looking at properties on laptops, smart phones and tablets. First impressions are everything.  A browsing buyer will stop swiping if he or she is not impressed by the first few photos.  Most staging companies offer reasonable packages – some only a few hundred dollars – which can more than pay for themselves in the right situation.