Seller's Perspective: What to Expect When Listing Your Home in Today's Economy and Real Estate Market

It’s a seller’s market, but seeing is believing for any buyer.

Selling your home can be a stressful time. But if you are selling your home right now, you’re in luck. It is currently a seller’s market—in today’s economy with low inventory and fewer properties for sale, sellers definitely have the upper hand.

“Americans are living in fear of higher interest rates and lack of inventory. I believe the first quarter will be best quarter of the year for selling your home,” said Matt Laricy, real estate broker at Americorp Real Estate. He explains that typically the market will start to slow down in summer and fall and then be a buyer’s market by the time we are heading into winter.

But in order to sell your home, there are a number of things you will need to do before it will be ready for the perfect buyer. The first step—call a doctor. Michael Michalak, broker at RE/MAX Exclusive Properties explains, “I think of myself as a doctor for real estate. If you need surgery, you go to the doctor as the first step. Have someone lay out what is needed for your home to be ready to sell.”

Buyers these days have very high expectations when looking at homes due to the popularity of home buying and renovation shows on HGTV and Bravo. When a potential buyer looks at a home, they want it to look perfect right from the start.

“Seeing is believing. We are all visual learners these days,” said Laricy. “If you paint, stage and upgrade minor fixes to your home, you will sell it quicker and for more.”

While a simple paint job could easily be done by the buyer, a buyer may think twice about buying if they have to make too many fixes. As a seller, you have to consider if the investment in upgrades will make your home look great and provide a great first impression. A seller can no longer let buyers rely on their imaginations when it comes to showing your home.

The more you prepare your home, the quicker it sells and the less money you lose having it sit vacant. Avoid this problem by not making this mistake: setting an unrealistic price.

“It is important to have your home priced right in order to have the right showings. If it ends up being on the market too long, buyers will notice,” said Michalak.

Use tools online like Trulia and Zillow to do some initial research to see what other homes like yours are selling for in the area. Then if you plan to hire a real estate agent, you can ask their opinion and expertise as well.

“Don’t be too aggressive in this market. Many sellers will try to ask for too much because the market is hot, but people are smarter than that today,” said Laricy.

What you can expect as a seller, is to receive a lot of bids because of the low inventory in the market. Be prepared to move quickly if your home happens to be a home that sells fast. If you don’t find a buyer, you can always take the feedback you received from showings and make updates or changes.

“My advice for sellers would be to not get emotional involved in the negotiation. If someone gives you a low offer or puts something in an offer that is upsetting, understand it is business and you can say no. If you add emotion to that decision, then you may become irrational about it,” said Michalak. “Take the feedback on what needs to get updated from people who are looking at it. It’s more of an art than a science.”