Selling In a Buyer’s Market: How to Make the Sale

A “buyer’s market” occurs when there are far more houses for sale than buyers looking to snap them up. Here are five key things you need to know about selling your home in a buyer’s market and how to get the highest possible asking price.

The “hotness” of the real estate market and whether it favors buyers or sellers is largely dependent on regional factors, such as extreme weather, time of the year, or economic conditions. If the amount of housing inventory far outweighs the buyers looking to purchase, we see what is known as a “buyer’s market.” Here are five key things you need to know about selling your home in this unique market, and how to get the highest possible asking price.

1. Know if You’re Really In a Buyer’s Market

This is where an experienced real estate agent comes in. Essentially, there are two ways to determine if the market favors the buyer. The first is to identify the average number of days on market for listings in your area. If the result is 60 days or more, you can consider yourself in a buyer’s market. Another strategy is to look at the sales to listings ratio, which essentially highlights the balance between supply and demand. A ratio of less than 35 percent indicates the conditions are more favorable to buy than sell. A knowledgeable agent will be able to show you the whole picture and work with you to get the best price.

2. Make It Move-in Ready

When in a buyer’s market, the homes that show well and are in move-in condition, sell faster than those that aren’t. While it may seem basic, presenting a home that buyers can see themselves living in is critical. Create a clean and spacious feeling throughout your home by packing away off-season clothes and equipment. Rearrange or put some furniture in storage to reduce clutter and do your best to depersonalize your space. Consider painting over any bold colors with a neutral palette, and stage your space to show off its best features.

image of a staged living room

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3. Pre-Inspect

While not required, having your home pre-inspected by a qualified home inspector may put potential buyers at ease and create a faster sale as all parties are on the same page as to the home’s condition. Having a pre-inspection also allows for time to correct any deficiencies or come up with a plan to deal with them at negotiation time. If you have a wood-burning fireplace or appliance, a pre-inspection can also speed up the process, making a successful sale closer than you think.

4. Price It Right

While pricing your home can be a nerve-wracking affair, this is another area where an experienced agent can provide strategic insight to help you make a solid decision. Even in a buyer’s market, the homes that sell are the ones that are priced right.

sold sign on lawn of house

5. Consider Every Offer

While many sellers can be quick to dismiss a low-ball offer, it’s important to at least counter in good faith before throwing the deal away. Many buyers will be aware of market conditions and will test their waters, but even a first offer that looks terrible can turn out to be satisfactory if negotiations are successful.

The Bottom Line

By being knowledgeable about market conditions and pairing with your agent to present a home that is tidy and ready to move into, any home can be sold, even in the toughest market. The key to a successful sale is to be flexible in preparing your home, and think outside the box when it comes to negotiations and what items may entice buyers more than a monetary price-cut. Including your washer and dryer may mean more to a first-time homebuyer than a slightly lower selling price, for example. Stick to the basics, prepare well, and your sale will be successful before you know it.


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