Seller tips for the slow homebuying season

November 5th, 2014

Home sellers must adapt their strategies for the slower homebuying season and current market conditions.

The slow season for homebuying has arrived, which means sellers may have a more difficult time getting their properties off the market.

A recent Redfin report determined there was unseasonable growth in housing inventory in September, which means the few buyers who will be on the market during winter have more options. Consequently, home sellers will be competing with each other.

Additionally, a separate Redfin report indicated sellers have less leverage than homebuyers in the housing market. As more properties become available, many sellers are adjusting their prices to keep up with the shifting market. Considering these changes in the real estate sector, sellers must avoid pitfalls that can drive potential homebuyers away.

Here are some reasons a home may not sell:

The property is overpriced
Home prices are still going up. However, various reports have noted the pace of appreciation has considerably slowed compared to the start of the housing recovery. One such report was the October Home Price Index, which revealed home prices increased only 0.5 percent between July and August.

As home prices become more affordable, buyers – who may also be sellers – can get their hands on less expensive homes. Of course, this also means sellers must adjust their prices to align with market trends. If potential buyers know they can get a better deal with another seller, they will seek it out.

The home’s curb appeal needs help
First impressions are important when it comes to selling a home, which means a property’s exterior must be immaculate. Autumn and winter come with unique concerns for curb appeal, and missteps can lead buyers to believe a property is poorly maintained.

Here are some tasks sellers should tackle to uphold their curb appeal during the slow season:

  • Raking leaves: Although the changing leaves can be a beautiful sight at the start of autumn, they aren’t as appealing as the season goes on and they turn brown. Leaves and other lawn refuse should be cleaned up.
  • Cleaning gutters: Leaves can also make their way into gutters and downspouts. Not only can this issue be a visual problem, but it can also lead to property damage in winter. Ice dams can form if blockage occurs, which can then cause roof damage. When these issues are revealed by the home inspection, they can turn some buyers away.
  • Removing snow and ice: Once winter is in full swing, sellers must ensure their walkways and driveways are clear of ice and snow. This removes a safety hazard and also helps buyers believe the property is maintained.

The listing photos have poor quality
When skimming through several listings, homebuyers don’t want to spend a lot of time looking at each house, which is why sellers shouldn’t skimp on the attached images. Listings with bad photos are typically passed over quickly, and various factors go into taking subpar pictures.

If the images are blurry, fuzzy or too few in number, buyers may not be interested. Additionally, if a home appears cluttered and messy, the listing can go unnoticed.

Sellers may consider hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of their homes for the listing. One trend that is currently making headway is three-dimensional photography, according to Realty Today. In fact, real estate brokerage Redfin has partnered with cameramaker Matterport to give sellers the opportunity to provide a virtual tour of their homes. Although the service may appear too high-end for some sellers, current market conditions require they step up their strategies, especially if they want to close with a noticeable profit to put toward their next home purchase.