Is it a buyer’s or a seller’s market right now? With the widespread shortage of homes for sale across the U.S. most people would say that it’s a seller’s market. I mean, I’ve had buyers put offers in well over asking (think $20,000 or more) for a home just to make sure they got it after and still not had an accepted contract. I’m also still working with some buyers from last year because we just haven’t found the right home for them within their budget. The key wording there though is “the right home.” Yes, there are fewer homes for sale right now which is helping some sellers make a profit and sell their homes quickly but there is one thing different about this seller’s market: the generation of buyers. Lately we’ve seen a turn in the market to longer days on market and the price reduction of many homes and it’s because of these Millennial Buyers.
Right now Millennials are the top purchasers of real estate as far as quantity of purchases. We are seeing the highest volume of homes in the first time buyer price ranges and that’s where Millennials are currently buying. While there may be fewer homes for sale than usual I would argue that it’s sort of a buyer’s market because Millennials are unlike buyers of the past. In previous markets we’ve seen buyers in their early 20’s, on their own with little cash, ready to buy anything that pops up in their general search area and checks a few boxes on their wish lists. Today’s first time buyer is on a different level. They’re in their late 20’s to early 30’s, have been saving for several years so they have some cash available, they have a support system of parents (financially and emotionally), and they aren’t willing to compromise. You can read more about the Millennial Home Buyer here.
Millennial buyers grew up in the age of Pinterest and HGTV. They have been looking at pictures of beautiful kitchens, freshly made beds, and muted color palettes for the last 5 years as they dreamed about owning a home from the couch in their rental. I’m not saying you have to go buy the new Joanna Gaines line of furniture but depersonalizing your home and making it look like a “model home” as much as possible will help your buyers see themselves in it. Appeal to their design eye.
Becoming familiar with other homes in the area like yours will help you see what you’re up against. Take a look at the interior photos of those homes to get some ideas for what to bring in (or take out of) your listing. Your agent should be able to pull comparable homes for you. Knowing your audience is also key for any purchase. Note: If you aren’t in a first time buyer price range then become familiar with what type of buyer is likely looking for your home – empty nester, second home, weekend home buyer, etc.
Knowing what the market looks like means more than knowing what other homes are for sale. Your agent should be able to tell you what the contracts are looking like too. It’s important to talk about more than price so you are prepared for what your final offer might be. Sometimes first time buyers aren’t able to come with cash offers or will need help with closing costs. If you are in a FTB price range take this into consideration when you determine a final price for your home.
Amazon is not the only place Millennials are shopping online. Before they even get to a real estate agent buyers have been looking online at potential homes. Sometimes these online listings are what drive buyers to contact an agent in the first place. It’s important to make sure the presentation of your home online is top notch!
Have a new baby? Work from home? I get it. It can be hard to have people in and out of your house all day but being flexible is one of the keys to helping your home sell. The more time restrictions you have (24-hour notice, no showings between 12 and 2, etc.) the more likely you’ll loose the opportunity to show your home to a potential buyer. FTBs don’t always have super flexible jobs so popping in on their lunch break or after work is the only chance they might have to see your home.
Jessica Deleo is a licensed agent in Richmond, Virginia with One South Realty Group. All information provided is of my own opinion and intended for educational purposes only. Read full disclaimer.