Each year, it seems the housing market takes on a different tone -- and whether it's going to be a sellers' market with inflated prices and bidding wars, or a buyers' market with tons of choices and low prices -- there's no denying that the 2014 housing season is upon us. So what does it have in store? Well, if you're thinking of listing your home, that's an important question.
Here are six market insights that will give you a head start!
Right Now = A Great Time To Sell
The winter home selling season was crippled by the polar vortex, especially in the east and northeast, so there's pent-up demand from buyers who've been waiting for better weather to brave the house hunt. Mortgage rates are still at historic lows, so buyers ARE poised to buy and ready to hit the streets.
Know Your Numbers: 60 percent
Sixty percent of all homes in 2014 will be bought and sold from May to August. Putting your home on the market at the beginning of the selling season will help your chances of snagging a winning offer before buyers turn their attention back to school starting in September.
Price It Right
Many metros in the country have seen double-digit price increases in the past year. But this last quarter, prices started to slow nationally -- and pricing is a critical component to getting your house sold. With this fluctuating market, you need to look at comps of similar homes in your area, and recency matters: make sure you're looking back no more than 60 days. The sale price of homes that sold recently paints a much better picture of what to expect than the price of homes that sold six months ago (or of homes that have yet to sell).
Bidding Wars Aren't Back (Phew!)
Bidding wars were common in the summer of 2013, but we're hearing less about them right now. So don't bank on fielding two or three offers at once. There is, however, a good chance that you'll still get the one that will be a win/win for both you and the buyer.
It Pays To Be Ahead Of The Curve
Trying to get a jump on the competition? Right now we're on the cusp of prime selling and buying season, and if you list soon, you'll have less competition than you would if you put your house on the market in May or June, when more homes will flood the market. Since it's still early, your home can have its 'moment in the spotlight' more than it will when inventory increases - and the buyers who are braving the cold to house shop are clearly motivated.
Make It Pop Off The Computer (Or Smartphone) Screen!
In this new mobile era, a huge percentage of buyers use apps to start their home search. And that percentage is expected to rise this year as more buyers take advantage of easy access to the wealth of information online. Get in on this trend by making sure your home pops on those computer screens. Great homes with mediocre quality photos will be quickly discarded and ultimately get less showings. Sellers should insist that their agent take the time to beef up their online listing so the quality of the home jumps off the screen and gets buyers' attention.