March 21, 2019
If you are planning to put your home on the market this Spring, working with a terrific real estate agent will be extra important.
The housing market in many parts of the country is downshifting from very hot to warm. For sellers, that means a great market in many parts of the country may now be good, but not great.
The current 4.4% interest rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is still historically low, but the reality is 18 months ago it was just 3.8% and in mid-2016 was 3.4%. Higher rates tend to cool down buyers a bit. At the same time, there is likely going to be more competition from other sellers in your neighborhood. For the first time in a very long time, inventory is rising. And if you happen to live in a state with high income tax and property tax, the new tax law that limits a household deduction for state and local income tax and property tax to a total of $10,000 may play into buyer’s budgets.
I am not saying it is a bad time to sell. The economy is still going strong, and all those headwinds I mentioned are more like very light breezes, not gale-force. But, it does mean that you want to be extra smart in how you market your home.
A good real estate agent is a must. You want someone with experience in your neighborhood, selling homes in your price point. And it’s on you to listen to the advice you are given. For instance, be open to spending a few weekends doing some power-cleaning and painting. When buyers have more options, they may not be as enthusiastic buying something that doesn’t sparkle. Or maybe you need to tackle a quick remodeling project. Hear what the agent says with an open mind.
And you must listen to what the agent has to say about setting your sales price. It’s important to get this right the first time. If you price too high and don’t get any action, you will end up having to reduce the price, which is a signal to buyers to offer even less. This is one of those instances where you really need to focus on where the market is today. Not last year, or what your bestie sold for 18 months ago. Those prices don’t matter. You are selling today, and you want to price your home to reflect where the market is at today.