Tips for Home Buyers and Sellers in Any Market

How to buy a house in 2016

Are you being transferred for work or making a major move for personal reasons? If so, you may end up selling in one market and buying in another—a scenario that can be challenging and stressful. Here are tips for home buyers and sellers in any market.

1. Be informed. Today, markets vary by state, town, city and even block by block. So it’s important to start by researching the hyper local market of the town or neighborhood that interests you. Read local blogs. Watch the number of days a home is on the market. Understand the sale-price-to-list-price ratio in the town where you’re buying. Doing your research up front can save time, money, and headaches.

2. Be a smart seller in a buyers’ market. If you need to sell in a buyers’ market, put your best foot forward from the beginning. Make sure your home is priced to sell. You may not have the luxury of waiting for six months to test the market. Homes will sell, no matter the market, when priced right. Get rid of junk and prep your home for the market. You’ll have to box stuff up when you move anyway, so why not start now? Not only will it save time later; it will make more space available and help the home show better during open houses. Strongly consider any suggestions your agent makes for slight cosmetic fixes or staging, too.

3. Be a smart buyer in a buyers’ market. Take your time to see as many homes as possible to get the lay of the land. Focus on the most motivated sellers, as this is where you may uncover the best values. If there are a handful of homes that meet your needs, ask questions such as: ‘Why is the seller selling?’ ‘What is their timeframe for moving?’ ‘How long have they lived in the home?’ Ask these questions through your agent or the seller’s agent.

4. Be a smart seller in a sellers’ market. Along the West Coast, sellers are being overwhelmed with buyers at open houses and private showings. Demand is high and things are moving quickly. But regardless of where you are, you’ll still have to work at selling. If you don’t present your home in its best possible light, you may leave money on the table. Getting multiple offers? Focus on the best buyer and the best terms and not so much on the bottom line. You want the buyer who’s most likely to deliver a clean closing. You want to avoid having to go back on the market, because when you do, everyone wonders what’s wrong with your home.

5. Be a savvy buyer in a sellers’ market. Buyers in a sellers’ market often get frustrated over a lack of inventory and by homes that sell quickly. The competition is fierce and they need to invest a good part of their time on buying a home. Have your ducks in a row and your team in place. Work closely with a good local agent and a local mortgage pro. When a home hits the market, see it ASAP. Don’t wait for the open house, because a more aggressive buyer might get in and take it away before you. When competing with other buyers, have your inspections and do as much due diligence as you can before making an offer. An offer with swift, few or no contingencies is music the seller’s ear. They want to be sure the deal will close for the most amount of money as quickly as possible. Find out what the seller wants and give it to them.

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