6 Strategies for Selling Your Home Quickly Even as the Housing Market Cools

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The real estate market is finally slowing down after a white-hot couple of years. Homes are taking noticeably longer to sell in 2023 compared to how quickly they sold in 2022 and 2021.

That’s why we have six strategies for selling your home faster.

On average, homes are spending nearly 20 extra days on the market compared to a year ago, according to an analysis by Realtor.com. And the share of for-sale homes with a price reduction has more than doubled.

Higher mortgage rates and inflation have cooled the market to the point where fewer buyers are bidding way above asking price to snatch up available houses right away. However, the housing market at the local level varies quite a bit.

Realtor.com ranked the 100 largest real estate markets in the country for how quickly (or slowly) homes are selling.

The 10 slowest housing markets: Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Des Moines, Iowa; Kansas City, Missouri; Syracuse, Albany and New York City, New York; Pittsburgh; Poughkeepsie, New York.; Boise, Idaho; and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Homes in Baton Rouge stayed on the market the longest, with a median of 93 days.

The 10 fastest housing markets: Rochester, New York; Spokane, Washington; Little Rock, Arkansas; Columbia, South Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia; Nashville, Tennessee; Dayton, Ohio; San Jose and San Diego, California; and Worcester, Massachusetts. Homes in Rochester stayed on the market the shortest amount of time, with a median of 47 days.

(Using a completely different methodology, the homeowners website House Method found that homes in the Midwest and Pennsylvania appear to be selling relatively fast, while the market is slowing down in South Carolina, parts of Florida and certain large cities like New York and Chicago.)

6 Things to Know Before You Sell Your Home This Year

Since it’s becoming a bit more challenging to sell a home, here are six things you need to know about today’s real estate market.

1. iBuying Is Here to Stay

Not interested in all the hassle that comes with staging and open houses and waiting to close before you buy another home? iBuying might be for you.

Selling to an iBuyer is a simple way to sell your home, as is, at a “fair market price.” An iBuyer takes it off your hands and takes care of the rest. This concept has been around for years, but now larger real estate companies, like Redfin and Open Door, have made it a competitive industry.

Though Zillow Offers closed up shop in 2021, selling to an iBuyer is a legitimate way to unload your house quickly at a decent price.

2. Virtual Staging Is a Big Deal

Making your house look pretty in an online listing is nothing new. During the pandemic it became more important than ever, and that hasn’t changed.

Virtual staging isn’t just taking a photo of your sunlit room. Virtual staging software allows you to add and move around furniture in an empty room. It gives a potential buyer a better idea of what the room could look like fully decorated.

That means no heavy lifting on your part. And even better? It’s much cheaper than traditional staging.

“I paid $1,200 to have one room traditionally staged for a three-month term versus $100 for three virtually staged rooms,” says real estate agent Shea Adair of Sell Raleigh Home Fast. “The price difference is astounding, and you literally can’t tell that those rooms were staged virtually.”

3. You Still Need a Real Estate Agent

In some cases, you might consider a for sale by owner sale. But, for the most part, hiring a real estate agent will pay off in time, effort and money.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the median selling price for homes sold by agents was $58,000 higher than those sold by owners, which, in most cases, will more than make up for the commission you’ll pay.

The great thing about hiring a real estate agent: They’ve been there before and have the experience. They will take care of negotiations and paperwork. And they have the connections you might need to hire a handyman, photographer or stager.

The real estate market can be unpredictable, but real estate agents aren’t going anywhere.

4. Negotiation Is as Important as Ever

In normal times, buyers usually have the upper hand when it comes to negotiation. But as we know, these aren’t normal times in the real estate market.

A lot of factors play into a good negotiation — everything from setting a smart price beforehand and knowing the unique, marketable aspects of your home to knowing what your buyer’s looking for and counteroffering over the right things.

Negotiating a home sale can be stressful, and that’s why hiring a real estate agent, again, might be a good idea.

5. Home Inspections Still Matter (a Lot)

If you’re selling, you know the inspection is coming so it’s important to get out ahead of it if you want to get the maximum amount for your home.

Of course, you may balk at replacing an entire HVAC unit, but you need to know that will factor into the price eventually. The important thing is to know what the inspector will be looking for — whether it’s structural components, electrical and plumbing issues or insulation and dated appliances.

All of these things will affect your home’s sale price. Be strategic about what you want to fix or replace and what you are content with leaving as is.

6. Fair Market Value Is Usually Fair

A home’s “fair market value” (FMV) is the value at which the house would sell under normal market conditions.

Everything from its location, condition and comparative houses in the neighborhood will factor into your home’s fair market value. Many people think their home is worth more than it is, so the FMV is an objective way to view your home.

If you put your home on the market at an unrealistic price, you could risk losing dollars on the sale down the road. On the flip side, if you go too conservative with your listing price, you could miss out on making more on the sale.

Robert Bruce and Mike Brassfield are senior writers for The Penny Hoarder.