The Ups and Downs of a Seller's Market3/31/2016
If you're thinking of selling a house, you've probably heard from everyone (including strangers) that it's a seller's market right now in the Lincoln area. And those people are right. Inventory is low, demand is high, and sellers are enjoying increased property values and lots of interest in their homes for sale.
But the fact that your house might sell quickly and for more than it ever has before doesn't mean this is a stress-free process. Quite the contrary! A lack of available homes for sale drives up your price and brings you many prospective buyers, but when it's time for you to find your next home, then the shoe is on the other foot. You could be competing with many other buyers for the same house, At the very least, you could take a while to find the right place.
Even if you aren't worried about finding a home to move to, you have to remember that getting a sold sign in the yard is the very least of your work. Even with a shortage of houses, your home still needs to be cleaned and repaired and staged before it goes on the market. After the contract is accepted, there are inspections, loan underwriting, appraisals and other negotiations to work through before your sigh of relief. Many buyers who pay top dollar for a house feel less inclined to let small repairs slide and ask sellers to do more work to a house before closing.
With buyers in fevered competition for houses, there have been instances of "buy in haste, repent at leisure" where a buyer gets caught up in a bidding war and days later feels pressured by relatives or peers or even a spouse to rethink their decision. That buyer may even consider rejecting the house at inspection in order to get out of the contract. While rare, these situations have come up so it's important to make sure the buyer is working with a reputable agent who can manage expectations, keep them calm and walk them through the process to be sure they're making an informed decision.
Finally, buying in a seller's market means you have to adjust your attitude about "getting the best deal." Sometimes the smoking hot deal you get is just getting the house at all, even if it means paying full listing price. In Lincoln, the average sale price is 98% of list price: low offers often get rejected or outbid, and buying in a seller's market can mean it takes a few more years to build equity in your home for resale.
In the final analysis, your best course of action is to consult with a real estate professional about your home's value and the value and availability of homes in your area before you start. Knowledge is power - I'm here to help, whenever you're ready!