Want to know the best strategy for selling a house regardless of how the economy is doing? It’s dead simple: Know your market.
Part of knowing your market is knowing where your market is – where it ends and begins, because your market is not your city, your state or your region. Your market is your neighborhood. It’s your school district. It’s even your street and block.
Real estate agents know this, of course. But homeowners also need to have a grasp on this. If you’re out there thinking of selling your house or shaking in your boots thinking about the prospect of relocating later this year, next year or even the year after, you need to grasp what constitutes your market, what kinds of homes are in it and what other things affect its value like schools and crime.
How do you get to know your market?
Take a leisurely stroll through some open houses next Sunday. Sure, you may aggravate the real estate agent who’s trying to get the house sold, but you’ll get a sense of what’s out there. What kinds of houses does your home compete against? What kinds of upgrades do they have that yours doesn’t? What price ranges are you seeing for homes similar to yours? Attending open houses also gives you the chance to chat with agents who are selling homes in the area.
Become a casual web surfer. Check out current for-sale listings for your neighborhood. Track any trends you see such as average time it takes to sell, price reductions, number of bank-owned homes for sale. This will help you to get a sense of how fast things are moving and what kind of supply and demand dynamic is happening near your home.
Get local with news. Start doing web searches about the schools in your neighborhood and crime (if it exists). This will help you understand the desirability factor of your home’s location. Things change – just because your schools were the best in the state when you bought your home six years ago, doesn’t mean they are today.
Whether you’re getting ready to sell soon or not, I think it’s important for all homeowners to really understand their home’s value in current conditions. As we’ve seen these last few years, times change and values are not always predictable. Some areas also buck national trends – so relying on the nightly news to know what’s up with your home value is a bad strategy.
Understanding your home’s value is key to getting your house sold. Staying on top of trends on your street is the only way to prepare yourself for pricing right.