Consult with an expert, local real estate agent to ensure your house is priced competitively and well-staged. Why? Because while there are always three factors to getting a home sold—location, price, and condition—only two are under your control: price and condition. Of the two, which is more significant? Price. Remember that price will correct bad condition, but condition will never overcome a bad price.
Act fast. You’re in a race against time—the best price you’ll get in today’s market is the one you get now. If you wait, it will be lower. And every month the price on your home decreases, your costs remain the same. For example, Keller Williams research shows that sellers who listed their home at the price the agent originally recommended, sold the home 38 days faster. This is over a month of mortgage and tax payments! For a home that cost $200,000 at time of purchase, with 20 percent down and an interest rate of 6.5 percent, selling a month sooner results in a savings of $1101.31 for the mortgage alone, not including the taxes and insurance that the homeowner would be paying during this time.
Don’t worry about where the market has been, keep your focus on where it is going. The price your neighbor down the street got six months ago is not relevant in a market where your house is competing with others from all across town. Again, a local real estate agent will have the kind of long-term, wide-ranging data that will help you decide how to pinpoint your price with precision.
Your Smart Buy
Move up. Whether you are moving to an area where prices are in a downturn, or dreaming of nicer, bigger, home in your own town, selling your house now can get you into the home of your dreams. Falling home prices are a great opportunity for a savvy homeowner looking to move up. Even though your house price may be lower, the smaller loss at sale can be made up by greater savings at purchase. For example, let’s take that same $200,000 home, and imagine that it has decreased in value by 5 percent, reducing the sales price to $190,000. At the same time, let’s imagine that you would like to move up and the $400,000 home you have been eyeing has also decreased by 5 percent. That’s a savings of $20,000, and it is a home that is likely to be better positioned for appreciation when the market rebounds.
Bottom line: don’t pit yourself against the market, work with the market to get the most out of your house sale.