Last week, we I talked about some ideas for Buyer’s in a seller’s market, so this week I am offering tips for sellers because sometimes sellers in a buyer’s market can use some help, too. Look to these tips to be able to stand out even amid some stiff competition.
Offer to cover closing costs
Buyers in these markets may hold more of the cards, but that doesn’t mean they’ve got tons of cash. So if your buyer doesn’t have financial wiggle room to pay the full amount you were hoping for, here’s a smart compromise: Rather than slashing your price, offer to pay for some of their closing costs instead. Or, paying for moving costs may also motivate a cash-strapped buyer into closing day.
Why does this work? Because you’re offering a huge chunk of money upfront. A lower home price, on the other hand, offers buyers dribs and drabs of money over the course of their 30-year home loan.
Buyer’s market or not, the allure of upfront money is hard to beat.
Negotiating $5,000 off the price will only reduce the buyer’s mortgage payment about $25 a month. However, $5,000 toward closing or moving costs will save them $5,000 in cash right now.
Figure out who’s behind the offer
Every buyer, even in a buyer’s market, has particular quirks and weaknesses, and it would behoove you to know them. Through your Realtor®, find out a little bit about the interested buyer. If it is a first-time buyer, consider throwing in stuff that new homeowners need such as a fridge and other major appliances.
For some buyers, the extras will engage them more than a price reduction. Learn what you can about the buyers and appeal to their likely interests or needs. You can also expect to throw in some other items as well. Window treatments, home warranties, carpets, lawn equipment, grills—anything is fair game if the buyer is interested.
It’s also possible a buyer is interested in something more than just money. Some buyers might be motivated to close before school starts—if that’s the case, negotiate to get them settled in before the school buses start running.
Consider paying for repairs
When buyers have their pick of the housing litter, they may demand that you make a whole slew of repairs. If you want the sale badly, go right ahead and agree—but it’s better to “pay” for those repairs by reducing your home’s price rather than doing the repairs yourself.
If the seller is willing to pay for updates, it is better to outline these, with estimates, and lower your home price and have the buyer deal with the contractor after the sale. That way, you can get to closing day faster (which the buyer will like, too) and not have to deal with the contractor—especially if the estimate turned out to be too low.
Slash the price
Let’s face it: In a buyer’s market, you had better have an attractive price. You overshot? Reduce your price strategically for a fresh set of eyeballs. While it might feel less painful to lower the listing in small increments, you’re better off just taking a chunk out of the price all at once to catch people’s attention.
A price reduction from $315,000 to $309,000 does little to nothing for engaging buyers. However, reducing a home from $315,000 to $299,000 will mean the listing now appears in online searches by buyers looking for homes under $300,000.
It may seem like you’re taking a big hit, but a home that sells faster can save you a bit of money, including for “costs such as insurance, repairs, upkeep, utilities, and lawn care. The price of the home is only one variable in the cost of selling, or failing to sell.
Don’t be too quick to walk
When you’re dealing with a possible buyer, do your best to keep the negotiations going. In this market, you should only walk away from deals that are clearly awful, super-lowball deals. Keeping talks open means a better chance of sealing the deal, so continue to negotiate until the buyer either buys or walks away.