The housing market is more competitive than ever these days.  Nationally, values are up 7% and inventory is down 3%.  Fewer homes to choose from translates into fast moving sales, strategic negotiations and, often, bidding wars.  Be sure to tell your clients the lay of the land where you are and that you have what it takes to get deals done.

Jeremy Wacksman, Zillow’s chief marketing officers says, “Understanding whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s environment will help your client manage their expectations and give them insights into what they are going to need to bring to the table to close a deal.”

Here are some tips for buyers:

  1.  Be flexible – Be willing to rent if/when you’re not finding  your dream home.  Zillow reports in its 2016 Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends that 52% of potential buyers would be willing to rent while “waiting” for their ideal home.
  2. Take a hard, realistic look at your finances – Get a handle on your finances and potential monthly housing costs (mortgage, insurance, etc.)  39% of first time buyers and 26% of repeated buyers exceed their budgets…don’t be one of them.
  3. Get financing lined up early – Get 4-5 lending proposals out on the same day to get comparative bids and interest rate quotes in order to get pre-approved.  Make sure to read all the details in all the lending instruments.
  4. Make sure your client knows you have the expertise (strategic negotiating skills, leveraging escalation clauses, winning bidding wars, etc.) to get deals done.
  5. Communications are key – Clients want responsive agents. According to Zillow, 33% clients prefer phone calls; 21% prefer emails; 15% prefer texting.

Some tips for sellers:

  1.  Begin prepping your home for sale early! 13,000 sellers, according to Zillow, regret not beginning their home prepping earlier.
  2. Work with a real estate agent from the get-go.  90% of buyers who sell quickly and 58% of buyers who sell for more than the listing price work with agents.
  3. List your house during the “magic window time frame.”  Your realtor will know when that magic window is…if your agent doesn’t know, find another agent who does.
  4. Home improvements are worthwhile investments – Complete those improvements before putting your house on the market.
  5. If your house doesn’t sell, don’t be afraid to try again – According to Zillow, 26% of the sellers who sold their houses over the listing price were those who took their house off the market to adjust their listing price.  Do not let the house just languish on the market.  New listing prices attract new lookers to websites.