Like most of 2011, there is an overstock of households with loans higher than their value and that trend will continue to restrain home prices in the new year. We certainly remain in a homebuyer's market. Yet, forecasts call for an increase in home sales in 2012 with competitive offers on new listings in some areas. That is supported by the fact that over one-third of resales were by first-time buyers last year. Here are a few tips for homeowners wanting to sell.
Price it right. Gone are the old days of sellers holding out for better offers and this tactic will be brushed aside by potential homebuyers. According to the National Association of Realtors, last year owners accepted less than 90% of the asking price on home sales when the home was on the market for four months or more. Do your homework and look at the latest comparable sales in the area, including foreclosures and short sales, and how these differ from the original listing prices.
Be flexible. Instruct your agent to make immediate adjustments to deals when hearing any prospective buyers misgivings about the property. Be willing to negotiate on extras like paid property taxes, closing costs, remodelling projects or even covering association dues for a period of time.
Embrace technology. The tech trends will continue this year with potential homebuyers looking for real estate online, especially via social media like Facebook and YouTube. Don't be afraid to share your listing or provide a video tour for those inquiring on the Internet.
Understand creative financing. The barriers to getting a traditional bank loan are ever present in the new year. Some sellers are even considering offering owner-financing options. While this may not be the best route for everyone, do not be too quick to deter cash sale offers. Even if they are significantly lower than the asking price, it may be the best offer in the long run.
Expect more due diligence. The Internet has allowed homebuyers more security in the process by putting many tools for researching a property at their finger tips instead of waiting on the phone or having actual ground work to complete when deciding to place an offer. Be prepared for buyers to request and perform everything from home energy audits to land surveys.