The latest economic news is likely to send mixed signals to would-be home buyers. Recent tumbles on the stock market are likely to erode confidence, but cuts in interest rates and gas prices could balance that news out.
However a given buyer chooses to think about the economy, if they are planning to buy a home this year, they will probably carry through – so long as they can find a home they consider suitable.
For people looking to sell a property in 2019, there are shifts in the real estate market to consider that have changed the selling process a bit, compared to previous years.
If you take the plunge and list your home, use these tips to make sure that you get the best possible price for your property:
1) It Remains, On Average, A Seller’s Market
Real estate professionals talked for years and years about the end of low mortgage rates. They finally went away and then came roaring right on back. There’s similar talk now about the perennial end of the seller’s market.
Of course, the seller’s market will eventually die off. In my professional opinion, though, it’s not going to happen in 2019. This will be another strong year for selling. I do think we could see the balance start to level off, though. (Check my post of 2019 predictions for more.)
What I expect to see in the rest of 2019 is a normalization in home buying and fewer bidding wars than in past years.
What does that mean when you enter the market as a seller? Be prepared for your house to stick around on the market a little longer before the first offer shows up. Expect fewer offers overall, and don’t assume that you’ll get a lot of offers above your asking price.
It’s still a viable tactic to peg your ask at the most desirable price point and then reel in higher bids. You just need to keep your expectations a little more realistic about the process.
2) Target Your Buyers And Offer Them Something Appealing
To attract plenty of Fort Lauderdale buyer attention in 2019, you need to offer up a home that’s well-designed and well-maintained.
What’s the common factor uniting homes that linger on the market? They’re dilapidated or out-of-date, and their pricing doesn’t reflect their condition.
Home buyers are getting younger; there are a lot of Millennials looking for good houses. The road into their hearts isn’t paved with antique curtains and lace doilies!
I see lots of properties that could easily garner interest at their asking price if they were just tweaked, freshened up, and staged wisely.
Even simply installing a few smart home appliances (e.g. a Nest thermostat) can attract more interest from younger buyers. Other cheap but powerful touches include updating minor finish details like switches and wall outlets, knobs, and faucets.
Remember to take this with a grain of salt. The needs of your specific property and the tastes of your local housing market come first.
Expect to see homes targeted at first-time buyers to retain their popularity in 2019. There are so many buyers in that particular niche that even out-of-date homes can command good prices.
Buyer targeting gets more important as asking prices go up. To sell pricey homes quickly, the seller and agent need to invest real thought and effort into courting the right buyer.
3) Staging (And Photos Especially) Just Get More Important
Economics and accounting are all about numbers. Real estate is a more emotional industry; hearts and gut instincts play big roles in buying and selling homes.
Today, the way you photograph your home is a crucial part of selling it. Unless you (or your Fort Lauderdale real estate agent) have in-depth picture-taking experience, hiring a pro is the way to go.
Compared to the potential impact it can have on your sale price, hiring a professional photographer is a very modest investment. With the internet serving as the field where the overwhelming majority of buyers first meet prospective houses, the photographic face you put on your property is vital.
You need a strong lead shot that will serve to distinguish your house from competitors. You give yourself a big advantage when you have that shot taken with professional gear and professional expertise.
The same holds true in reverse. Even if your house is fantastic and your price is reasonable, a blurry, badly-lit amateur phot can drive away buyers.
Don’t be afraid to pick your best, most memorable photo as the featured shot for online listings. There’s no law that says that has to be a frontal exterior shot. If your family room or kitchen looks fantastic, go ahead and lead with it.
Some would-be buyers are never going to take the time to look at your other pictures if the first one bores them.
Staging is also an important part of presenting your home well. Good staging can make two identical houses look completely different when they go up for sale.
Because some regional real estate markets are sinking toward lukewarm conditions for sellers, it’s more important than ever to make sure you get the little things right.
4) Don’t Use Discount iBuyers Without Good Reason
At a national level, the market is still too biased in favor of the seller to bother with iBuyer services like Opendoor, Zillow Offers, or Redfin Now.
Sure, these companies make big promises, like getting your home sold within a week. Why go into “fire sale” mode when the market favors you as a seller, though? A traditional listing may take a little longer and demand a little more effort, but it’s going to pay off at closing.
This is not the right time to feel desperate. While there are always special circumstances that might cause you to prioritize speed above all else, if you’re not in a hurry, I say conventional sales are the way to go in 2019.
5) But Do Consider A Discount Brokerage
This might be a good year to investigate discount real estate brokerages, though.
These are the companies that charge less than the standard listing fee of 2.5-3 percent. Redfin, for example, charges one percent (plus agent fees for the buyer), and REX charges 2 percent total by cutting the buyer agent commission out.
There are plenty more where these came from, and some offer flat fees or entirely free services. (To earn the latter, you typically have to commit to returning to that brokerage for your next real estate transaction.)
The majority of real estate agents are always pretty strongly against discount brokerages. They argue (often persuasively) that their talents for securing higher sales prices easily justify their cost.
While the agent’s argument is generally the case, what you have to bear in mind is that it isn’t a guarantee. They may not raise the price of your home enough to offset their higher commission.
Investigate your options thoroughly before making any decision. With a discount brokerage, your results depend more than ever on your understanding of the real estate market.
6) Consider Undershot Pricing
All the homes for sale in a given community are inevitably sorted out into tiers based on price. If your home is a borderline case, which tier do you want it to fall into? Should you list at $405,000 or $397,000?
The plain fact of the matter is, you’re going to get more interest if you slide your home in under the wire. This is due to both human psychology and the filters used on home listing websites. Remember, your listing price isn’t binding, and your final price could wind up a lot higher.
Be aware that there’s a limit to how flexible you can be. Modern buyers will look at data points like Zestimates and Redfin Estimates when evaluating your listing price. Checking those numbers yourself and pegging your price below them may generate even more interest.
Pushing your listing too far can be risky whether you’re going up or down. If you’re hoping for more than your listing price, you need to be certain you have enough buyer appeal to curry favorable offers.
7) Pick Your Agent Carefully
Your real estate agent plays a critical role in selling your home. They need to have a smart plan for getting the best price for your home.
Conditions are not quite as favorable to the seller as they used to be. It’s no longer a matter of “list and forget” in most markets.
Vet your real estate agent and find out how he or she is going to meet your needs in terms of final price and speed of sale. Is your agent planning to list low and drum up attention, or establish a higher price and play the waiting game?
Hash out your selling strategy thoroughly before you engage an agent and again before you list. Being on the same page about the details gets more important as the market continues to normalize.
8) Study Your Local Market
It’s good to have a good agent on your side. It’s also good to make yourself an informed seller. You should do both. Study 2019 home prices in your city and cultivate your own understanding of the market.
Make your research well-rounded; look at local, regional, and national projections for home pricing. The better your grasp of the current market temperature, the better you and your agent can zero in on the perfect listing price.
There’s no reason to rely solely on your agent for data these days. You can find free price projections from lots of different sources. The usual suspects (i.e. Zillow and Redfin) are tremendously informative. Consider less publicized sources, too. Realtor associations in your state can help, as can the NAR. Private companies like First American and CoreLogic are also options.
When you study local listings, make sure you’re looking at sold homes. How do recent sales compare to your home? How long were they on the market? What was the difference between the list price and the final price? If a particular sale nearby was exceptionally good, study it in more depth looking for clues you can use with your own home.
While you’re doing this, you should also ask yourself if your home has any deficiencies compared to what’s selling right now. A few easy fixes before listing may boost your appeal to buyers considerably. Check https://www.bigworlddirectory.com/fort-lauderdale/services/nest-findr-real-estate-agents-fort-lauderdale
9) Do An Exclusive Listing
I have seen exclusive listings deliver incredible results when they’re handled properly. I’m thinking of one example where the agent held one – and only one – open house. The place was packed all day; it was a bonafide real estate circus.
You need to consider how this works from the buyer’s point of view. You get your look at this home you want to bid on, and the place is swamped with other interested buyers. You get excited. You worry about missing out on something great.
If the property is generally desirable – right area, right design, right condition – an exclusive listing can pay off big. The example I’m discussing here? It went under contract in less than a week. The final price was about $100,000 over asking.
This wasn’t even an amazing property, just a fundamentally sound one. The agent fostered a sense of exclusivity and drove the price up tremendously.
To set up a proper exclusive, you need to be stingy about showings. Do no more than you absolutely need, and restrict them to qualified buyers represented by agents who know the property.
Do it right and you get overlapping buyer traffic and a flood of closely-spaced offers. You might even touch off a bidding war.
10) Sell At The Right Time Of Year
As in most businesses, timing is key in real estate. You can list a property on any day in 2019, but not every day will give you the same results.
The standard rule of thumb is that spring is the time to list your home if you want the very best price for it.
A single rule can hardly fit all the different properties and all the different markets in the nation, though! Zillow’s owner view includes a nice “best time to list” feature that will give you more specific recommendations for your market and your property.
The system will crunch the numbers on seasonal sales data and present you with what has historically been the best month to sell properties like yours in your market.
If you’re buying at the same time you’re selling, that can alter your schedule completely. Late summer, for instance, might be the best time to buy a home in your community.
11) Be Willing To Compromise
Although a little hard work can get your home under contract at a price you love, some of that work might involve making a concession or two to the buyer.
In 2019, sellers aren’t getting as much slack as the used to when it comes to selling “as-is.”
It’s entirely reasonable to expect buyers to request repairs after having inspections conducted. This could get pretty costly if you haven’t been religious about maintaining your property.
This can turn into a big issue if you’re trying to make the most out of highest-ever prices and unload a piece of property you haven’t touched in the last three decades.
To reduce the number of surprises waiting for you during the sales process, consider ordering your own inspections before you list.
12) Keep Your Eyes On Your Next Home Purchase
As mentioned above, many owners find themselves in the position of buying and selling at the same time. This is a tricky prospect right now, thanks in particular to the shortage of good inventory most markets are suffering from.
Lenders are pretty cautious now, too. Getting a home loan can be tricky or even impossible if you’re attempting to float two of them simultaneously.
I’m seeing more and more owners separate the processes entirely. They close the sale before starting the hunt for their next home. This does work out well on the sale side of things; it cuts down on contingencies and takes a little potential leverage away from the buyer.
It can leave you struggling to find a new house, though, particularly if you don’t much care for your temporary living arrangements.
One option is to arrange a rent-back with the buyer. This gives you a few months of breathing room in your existing home while you seek out a new one.
Owners can, of course, try to sell contingent on a satisfactory purchase. This is a tough proposition, though, unless you are absolutely certain of the appeal of the home you’re selling.
One universal step you can take to simplify matters is to line up your finances in advance. Get pre-approved for your next mortgage.
Develop a realistic estimate of what the proceeds from your sale will be. This figure will be vital in shaping your budget for your next purchase.
To wrap it all up, while I believe 2019 isn’t going to be quite as seller-friendly as years past, the needle is still favoring the seller over the buyer.
Any progress from 2018 is likely to stall out. Mortgage rates may hold steady or even drop, and home prices are projected to keep climbing.
Though talk has been rather pessimistic in recent months, my personal opinion is that the markets will still be fairly strong throughout 2019.
If you’re selling your home in 2019, the important thing is not to take success for granted. To get the best price, you’ll need to do your homework, get the details right, and be patient.