Indicators point to seller’s market in spring

FALLBROOK – Key indicators point to conditions for a seller’s real estate market this spring. With reasonable interest rates and rising home prices, there will be increased competition for buyers and faster sales for homeowners looking to move.

With some planning and understanding of the market, it’s possible for both groups to make the most of this evolving marketplace.

“Dramatic increases in both sales and prices are bringing homebuyers and sellers back to the market, indicating the worst of the housing crisis is behind us,” said Margaret Kelly, CEO of RE/MAX LLC.

Preparing a home to go on the market is a process.

“Some rules of smart selling never change, no matter what the market is like,” said Kelly. “Even with improved home prices and fewer homes on the market, sellers must still work to make their houses appealing to buyers who want to be able to envision themselves in the home.”

Those working on putting their home up for sale may find these tips helpful:

Curb appeal is vital

Keep landscaping neat, well-groomed and appealing with bright flowers, cut grass and well-trimmed shrubs. Sidewalks and paths should be clean and free of debris, and entryways well-lit. To really spruce up an entryway, consider a fresh coat of paint on the front door.

Inside, repaint.

Painting is a cost-effective way to freshen decor and gives the seller an opportunity to create a neutral environment that buyers will be able to picture themselves in.

De-clutter throughout the house, including closets, and remove personal photographs.

Choose a real estate agent who knows the area

A well-priced home sells quickly and helps ensure the top price possible for the house. A knowledgeable agent can help a seller set the right price – one that attracts buyers and maximizes the seller’s return. Agents also handle the legwork involved in selling a home, from effectively marketing a house to negotiating with the buyer’s agent and facilitating the closing.

Finally, be patient

“We’re again seeing cases of bidding wars in some markets,” Kelly said. “With fewer homes on the market in many areas of the country, it’s possible you could receive multiple offers. It may pay to take a wait-and-see attitude toward the first offer. Patience may garner multiple offers and a better chance of getting the asking price.”

For those who are buying

Greater competition in a seller’s market requires buyers to be able to move quickly and decisively. Before beginning to shop for a home, make a list of must-haves and want-to-haves. This list will help an agent narrow down the homes to look at.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage. “There’s no worse feeling than watching your dream home slip through your fingers because your financing fell through, or because another bidder had a guarantee of financing and you did not,” Kelly said.

While no one wants to pay more than they absolutely must, remember that in a seller’s market homeowners may receive multiple offers. If an initial bid is too low, that buyer might find themselves out of the running.

Be flexible on closing dates – often, sellers like sooner rather than later. And avoid placing too many contingencies on an offer. Working with a buyer’s agent can help one tailor an offer that will appeal to the seller as cost-effectively as possible. An agent will also be able to help a buyer secure information on schools, entertainment, amenities and safety in communities they are considering.

For more advice on buying and selling homes, finding an agent, and/or viewing homes for sale in the Fallbrook and Bonsall area, call or visit RE/MAX United at 1667 S. Mission Road in Fallbrook;; phone (760) 731-2900.

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