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Understand your market

According to Fannie Mae, the spring market typically leads to more homes being put on the market. However, the spring of 2023 didn't pull through, which led to increased prices. The decreased sales have led to more new home construction, which can hopefully remedy the issue of a slower market.

According to a recent report from Realtor.com, the U.S. median home listing price decreased 0.9% annually in June. This is the first yearly decline since 2017.

Regardless of pricing trends, Americans with means might still look to real estate as a solid investment and a hedge against inflation — but in a tricky housing market, they’ll likely have specific demands before they shake on a deal.

As a seller, it’s important to know your customer — and your competition — and have an idea of the things homebuyers are looking for in your area. If you can offer highly coveted features — like a fireplace and heated floors in a cool climate, or a swimming pool and large deck in a warmer climate — you should highlight them in your listing, especially if they’re rare, as they can really make your property pop.

Understanding the demographic of your prospective buyers is also important. In March, baby boomers overtook millennials as the largest generation of homebuyers in the U.S, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Boomers have an “upper hand in the home buying market,” NAR deputy chief economist and vice president of research Jessica Lautz said.

“The majority of them are repeat buyers who have housing equity to propel them into their dream home — be it a place to enjoy retirement or a home near friends and family.”

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Use a home inspection to your advantage

In a hot housing market, some buyers may waive their right to a home inspection to up their chances of having an offer accepted.

It can work the other way around in a cool housing market. Sellers can conduct a pre-listing home inspection to understand any potential challenges that could arise when selling a home.

If there are minor fixes needed, it gives you the opportunity to make quick repairs. It can also help to market your home if your property is in good shape — and it promotes transparency and trust with potential buyers.

Finally, a pre-listing home inspection helps you establish a firm asking price for your home. And because there will be no surprises for the buyer, they have less room to negotiate on the final price.

Showcase your property in its best light

Home staging is a useful tool for attracting potential buyers. Consider the impact of television shows like “Selling Sunset” and the heightened expectations that buyers with means have as a result.

“Buyers want to easily envision themselves within a new home and home staging is a way to showcase the property in its best light,” Lautz said.

Staging a home effectively involves removing any elements that wil prevent a buyer from envisioning the home as their space. Some simple steps include removing family photos and decluttering closets. The latter can make the house seem more spacious.

Sprucing up your lawn is also recommended in order to increase curb appeal. Adding new planters or doing a pressure wash can make an older space look fresh.

According to the National Association of Realtors 2023 Profile of Home Staging, 48% of seller real estate agents reported that staging a home decreased its time on market.

Furthermore, 20% of buyer and seller agents said home staging increased the offer price by 1% to 5% compared to similar homes on the market that weren't staged.

People buying up-market homes aren’t necessarily looking for a project property; they want it to be move-in ready. A fresh coat of paint, polished floors and professional landscaping can really set the tone of your viewing and boost the appeal of your home.

And keep in mind that home staging doesn’t need “Selling Sunset” levels of drama. The aim is to make a favorable and lasting first impression of a clean and welcoming home that will result in an offer.


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Bethan Moorcraft is a reporter for Moneywise with experience in news editing and business reporting across international markets.


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