You couldn’t pick a better time to sell your home than during a seller’s market. What is a seller’s market? It’s when the housing market is flooded with more buyers than there are homes. When the demand exceeds the supply, houses sell quickly and frequently for more money than the original asking price.

Unsure if it’s a seller’s market? Analyze local market trends using tools such as the ones found on Realtor.com (realtor.com). Look at how many days on average houses are on the market before they sell. If they’re only lasting 10 days or fewer, you know you’re in a seller’s market. Another positive sign is if homes are selling at or above asking price, and still another is if housing prices are rising rather than falling.

Housing trends inevitably change so if you’re ready to sell, go for it! Following these seven tips will help you navigate a hot market with a cool mind.

Get Your Home Ready – But Don’t Go Crazy

You’ve probably read all the good advice about investing in your home to get top dollar from buyers, sinking money into projects like kitchen and bathroom renovations. But Homelight (homelight.com) advises against this. When it’s a seller’s market, buyers are so motivated to find a home ahead of the competition that they’re often willing to overlook cosmetic issues like outdated cabinets and appliances.

Instead, spruce your home up by repainting it a neutral color. Have the carpets professionally steam cleaned. Remove personal photos. Add a few potted plants, and store clutter in attractive bins or baskets. Tidy away electrical cords. Keep the lawn mowed, the bushes trimmed and the walkways free of weeds. In a seller’s market, these may be all the investments you need to make.

Choose Your Home Pricing Strategy Wisely

You may be tempted to price your home far above its fair market value and, in truth, this could work in your favor. However, First Bank Mortgage (firstbankmortgageloan.com) warns that the pitfall in doing so is many buyers won’t be able to secure a mortgage because banks will only lend what the house is worth. Also, if pricing high doesn’t work, your home may earn a poor reputation among well-informed buyers.

It may be a good idea to price the house at appraisal value or even slightly lower. This can drive quick interest to your home and spark a bidding war. In the end, you may still get an offer above asking price.

Recognize What Makes a Good Offer – and What Doesn’t

You’ve gotten multiple offers. Hooray! Now, which one should you choose?

The natural inclination is to choose the highest offer. However, a high offer isn’t always the best offer. Mortgage companies are only going to lend the amount a home appraises for. Any amount offered above that will have to come from another source, likely the buyer’s own pocket.

The best offer is a cash one, as this completely bypasses any need for a lender. Another good offer is one with a large down payment, which can cover whatever the lender won’t. Further good offers are those with few contingencies and offers that sweeten the pot, such as paying the seller’s closing costs.

Make Sure Buyers are Pre-Approved, Not Pre-Qualified

Accepting an offer from a buyer who thereafter can’t secure a loan for personal reasons is a disappointing delay. Rocket Mortgage (rocketmortgage.com) recommends avoiding this by making sure upfront that any offer is coming from a pre-approved buyer. Pre-approval is different from pre-qualification. Pre-qualification simply means the buyer has gone through a minimal process to see how much home they can afford. Pre-approval means they’ve gone through the credit and financial screening processes to get provisional mortgage approval from a lender.

Prepare for a Bidding War

In fact, encourage one. When you get an offer, you don’t have to accept it on the buyer’s terms. Make a counter-offer that is more attractive to you. You can ask for more money, a flexible move-out date, for the buyer to pay your closing costs, etc. The idea isn’t to be greedy but to take a little advantage of the seller’s market you’re in.

If you receive multiple offers, choose the one you like the most to counter-offer and hold off on the rest. This is a good strategy for a seller who doesn’t want to lose other buyers in case the first one falls through.

Get Ready to Move

When your house sells, you’ll need to move. If your home sells quickly – which it very well may – you will likely need to move within 30 to 45 days of closing, unless an extended moving-out day was written into the offer. Cash purchases close even more quickly.

This is going to put you in the buyer’s seat in a seller’s market. If possible, start your home search before you put yours on the market. Put as many of your things in storage to expedite the move. Be prepared to make quick decisions. Consider renting or staying with family until the market cools down.

Hire an Experienced Real Estate Agent

An experienced, licensed real estate agent can help you navigate a fast-paced seller’s market. They’re trained to encourage buyers to make their best offers on your home and will recognize an offer that isn’t worth your time.

Ask for referrals from people in your network. Interview a few candidates. Ask for their credentials. Bankrate (bankrate.com) recommends finding a realtor who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Check their online presences and look for reviews. Ask for references and don’t fail to check them.

Make the Most of a Seller’s Market

When you put your home up for sale during a seller’s market, you’re striking while the iron is hot. Do your homework, hire an experienced agent, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.

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