So, maybe your home has been on the market for months, and despite your best efforts it still isn’t selling.
Any delay in that sales process can be frustrating, particularly if your move to a new home is dependent on your ability to divest yourself of the old. The good news is, if you’re a Texan, the odds of a sale are in your favor right now. As of October 2017, year-to-date sales statewide were up 4 percent, and the average time a house spent on the market before selling was just under two months. Next year, many analysts are predicting an even greater seller’s market.
“The Texas housing market, and the growth of its big cities, has become a boom some see developing into a bubble,” writes Patrick Sisson on real estate news site Curbed.com. “After outpacing much of the country’s housing growth, one may assume a reverse in course is nigh for Texas. Some analysts, though, see things differently: Texas real estate isn’t just booming. It’s evolving.” He points to a recent report indicating the recent upswing isn't just temporary; the Lone Star State may well be in for long-term expansion.
If flagging interest in your home seems to be the exception to that trend, however, you may wish to think about taking the following steps:
- Have your home professionally staged. You may have originally thought this was a waste of time or money, but hiring an expert to make your home showroom-ready can pay off. That’s because pros can evaluate your home with an objective eye, then incorporate trends that will have mass appeal to the people likely to be interested in your home.
- Re-evaluate your listing price. The advice of your real estate agent, the selling prices of comparable homes in your neighborhood and your own online and offline research should all factor into your decision as to whether to lower the price of your home for quicker sale. You may need to ask yourself if you’re holding out for a higher price because you’re emotionally attached to the home, or if the home is worth that price based on objective criteria.
- Consider renovations. While no one wants to put a lot of money into a home they hope to soon vacate, major defects or omissions in a home can cause potential buyers to simply move on, without consideration for how little renovations may cost. You may want to go ahead and finance upgrades, but conduct research first so you’re aware of which renovation projects have been proven to increase home value and desirability.
- Think about providing incentives. One possibility you might offer potential buyers is an interest rate buy-down, aka “paying points.” Through that mechanism, you essentially offer the buyer’s lender a portion of the sales price (at “points” that are tax-deductible for you) so he can lower his mortgage interest rate. Another option is offering to pay 3 to 6 percent of the closing costs to defray that expense for the buyer. If your home is part of a homeowners association, you might also pony up some of the future dues (perhaps up to a year’s worth?) so a new owner need not deal with that cost right away. Finally, you might put out the word that you’ll pay a bonus percentage point (or more) to any broker or agent who brings you a viable buyer.
The home selling process can be a stressful one, especially if you’re not seeing immediate results. If you feel like you’re stuck, don’t hesitate to consult with a broad range of experts for more ideas about how you can move the process forward.