Buy and By on Camano Island!Posted: April 11, 2011
Ever heard the phrase “buyer’s market” being tossed around like a baseball during pre-game warm-ups? If you’re new to the home ownership game (or if it’s been serveral years and you’re in need of a refresher), you may have some questions about what that really means and how you can take advantage of it.
There are some very technical ways to determine whether a particular market is a buyer’s market. But, let’s not go there…
Instead of wading through a whole lot of technical talk, let’s speak generally: A buyer’s market simply means that there are more sellers out there than there are buyers!
As with most anything, when there is a surplus of items and fewer people in need, prices are driven down. For those looking to buy a home, this means great things! Since there are many people out there currently wanting to sell, sellers are often more willing to negotiate on price, upgrades, concessions or incentives when a buyer is interested.
This comes in handy when you don’t particularly like the shade of purple the house is painted or want to upgrade a tired old dishwasher! If you’re looking to buy a brand new home, common upgrades include appliances, kitchen and bath fixtures or floor coverings.
What exactly does a buyer’s market mean for a seller? Because there are more houses to be sold than there are buyers ready to buy them, it’s important to know what will get people interested enough to look and how to keep them interested once they’re there.
By keeping the asking price reasonable for the size and location of the house, you’re off to a good start. It’s important to have a good idea of what similar homes in the area are going for so that you don’t scare potential buyers away (that’s where I… or I mean… a good Realtor… comes in).
There is another condition sometimes called “market-wear,” which is when a home sits on the market longer than most because the starting price was set too high. Market-wear also can develop over time because a seller makes price reductions that are too small to gain buyer interest. Avoid these tragic pitfalls at all costs!
Another way a seller can increase the likelihood that their home will sell is their willingness to pitch in on closing costs (there I go with the baseball references again, honestly I don’t know where that’s coming from). A good Realtor will be able to help you figure out the best asking price by reviewing comparable homes that have sold and provide educated suggestions on contributions you should be prepared to make.
There are also a number of smaller things that can increase your home’s curb appeal and sale-ability. For instance, according to staging101.com, houses that are “staged” (furniture and accessories placed strategically around the home to create a neutral, yet welcoming atmosphere) usually sell up to 32% faster and for 3-10% more.
Although it varies according to market conditions, it is very common for sellers to throw in optional appliances as part of the deal. Not usually a huge sacrifice for the seller (other than possibly some sentimental attachment), but to the buyer it could save substantial out-of-pocket expenses and shave off a few trips to the home improvement store!
Another trend gaining popularity is a focus on energy efficient upgrades. As the economy has changed, more buyers seem to be interested in the quality of insulation, energy efficiency of the windows and doors, and heating and cooling systems.
If you have specific questions or are ready to buy or sell your first, next, or last home, call me today — Jan Mather, your Camano Island Expert! 360-507-4133