What’s In Store For Home Sellers This Spring

As warmer weather starts spreading across the United States, look for the residential real estate market to emerge from its hibernation.

That’s the reassuring view from Eddie Tyner, general manager of, one of several online services that help sellers bypass real estate agents and their 6 percent commissions. “Buyers who might have been reluctant to shop seriously during the unusually cold weather this winter will be out in force and searching for properties,” Tyner explains. “This pent-up demand will benefit all sellers.”

Tyner says he’s already seen evidence of buyer excitement. “In January alone, we saw a significant increase in visitors at Page views were up by more than 53 percent from December 2013.”

As buyer interest heats up, the housing market recovery of 2013 seems to be slowing down. The numbers should be viewed in terms of the bigger picture, Tyner says. Take for example Illinois.

“Although the Illinois Association of Realtors reports that the state’s January home sales fell 7.5 percent compared to the same month in 2013, and Chicago-area sales dropped by 8.9 percent, there is cause for optimism,” he says. Home prices already are regaining their strength. “That same IAR report shows that in January, the statewide median price was $136,950, a 9.6 percent increase from the same month a year earlier when it was $125,000.”

Seasonal market improvements also are beginning to bloom on the West Coast, where the California Association of Realtors reports that January’s pending home sales increased almost 23 percent compared to December. Active listings of all property types also posted gains in January.

This inverse relationship between home sales and home prices is motivating sellers to list their homes. “In most cases, the declining number of home sales is due to a lack of inventory, which drives home prices up. This puts existing homeowners who are ready to list at an advantage over everyone in the market,” Tyner explains. “According to the National Association of Home Builders, home builder confidence is down, and recent construction rates won’t meet buyer demand this season.”

And if homeowners decide to sell without a real estate agent, the rewards are twofold.

“By-owner sellers control their own selling timeline,” Tyner says. “By planning now to ensure their property is presented at its best, by-owner sellers will have a head start on agent-assisted sellers who decide at the last moment to enter the market.”

As Tyner points out, “There are already a lot of buyers looking for great homes, and there just aren’t that many options. It’s a great time to sell while there’s less competition for the attention of house hunters who are ready to buy now.”

A little curbside TLC and pricing strategy prep now will have sellers ready to roll out the welcome mat and entertain buyers through the spring and summer selling season.

We want to know: Are you planning on listing your home for sale this spring?


4 Simple Tips to Help Sell a Home by Summer’s End

If you’ve been watching the news or reading the paper, you know that the last few weeks have seen a pretty significant increase in mortgage rates (Freddie Mac is reporting that the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose to 4.46%, the highest it’s been in almost two years), which means that it’s more important than ever to get your home noticed by motivated buyers before the end of the selling season. Here are four simple tips that will help your home catch the eye of interested house hunters and sell by the end of summer.

1. Go green. First impressions are so important, and the first thing that someone sees while driving by or walking up to your front door for a showing is the exterior of your home. Take advantage of the summer season and do some minor landscaping. Perk up your flower beds with bright buds, add colorful plants along your walkway, or hang baskets with flowers and dangling greenery from your front porch.

2. Brighten up. Curb appeal doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Add in some soft exterior lights along your driveway and sidewalks to ensure your house appears warm and welcoming at night. Avoid scaring away potential buyers with these general tips.

3. Make your pics clickable. House hunters expect the photos on your listing to match what they actually see when they visit your house. Now that the weather’s warm (and you’ve added in some nice plants!), you’ll want to show off how great your home looks when the lawn is groomed and your flowers are blooming. It’s the perfect time to refresh your listing with new photos of your home from the outside.

4. Keep personal history personal. No one knows your home better than you do, but be careful you don’t monopolize the conversation during showings with family memories about your house. Buyers want to picture themselves in your home, so let your staging of each room fill them with ideas about how they will use the space. Watch our how-to stage video for more ideas.

We’re curious: What home improvement projects are you tackling outside this summer?


The Best Day to List Your Home for Sale by Owner

We get asked this question all the time: When should I list my home? sees the most traffic from interested buyers on Sundays and Mondays. This means that you need to refresh your listing before the weekend, especially if you’re reducing your asking price, so that everyone who sees it gets the best listing information. Getting smart about your marketing strategy is a must if you want to get your home sold this summer. Here are four ways to market your home and get it under contract fast.

1. Know your market. Start by looking at comparable homes in your area. Even if you’ve done this before, it’s important to revisit this step every few months to stay current on the latest prices and sales. Are prices going up or down—and by how much? Do you see any new trends? How many days are homes staying on the market? Organize your research with this DIY comparative market analysis sheet.

2. Recalculate your perfect price. If you’ve had your home on the market for 30 days or more and haven’t received the right offer yet, think about adjusting your asking price. Use your comparative analysis to review what comparable homes in your area are selling for; our Pricing Guide for Sellers can help you calculate your perfect price.

3. Simplify with storage solutions. Staging pros agree: It’s best to rid your home of personal items and create as much open space as possible. One way to do this is to place extra furniture in storage while you’re showing your home so it’s out of the way, but still close at hand and ready for when you move. Get started with these 10 tips for protecting and storing extra furniture.

4. Advertise without spending a penny. Social media networks are quickly becoming some of the by-owner seller’s best marketing tools: They’re easy-to-use, fast-to-set-up and, best of all, they’re free. Whether people like it, pin it or tweet it, you’ll get a lot more eyes on your listing using our social media quick tips.

Print this Marketing Checklist »

Tell us: Do you have any tips for marketing a home?


5 Steps to Prep Your Home for the Selling Season

The National Association of Realtors’ Research Department recently released their Confidence Index based on home selling data from February. Among the latest information about the state of the real estate market, it was found that the national average for the number of days a home sits on the market is 74 days. The selling season is heating up! Get your home ready to list for sale by owner, and prepare for home-selling success with these five steps.

1. Determine your game plan. Set up a realistic timeline, and allocate sufficient funds for necessary renovations, your future sale and potential move. Use our start-to-finish timeline to help with the planning.

2. Decide what to DIY. Get a professional home inspection done early so you can identify problem areas and decide what you’ll repair yourself and what you’ll hire professionals to remedy. If you can’t fix everything, you can incorporate the knowledge of those problems into your asking price. Tackle these five most-overlooked home inspection problems.

3. Set the stage. Did you know that staged properties generate an 8-10% higher return on the sale price? Staged homes tend to sell in a shorter period of time, which increases your odds of selling at a higher price. Find out which staging strategies will make the most impact.

4. Polish your listing. Review your marketing materials, and consider asking a friend to lend his or her opinion, too. Are you emphasizing the best and most appealing features of your house? Include well-lit photos of every room that make the rooms appear spacious and uncluttered. Use these practical photo-taking tips to create professional-looking listing photos.

5. Assemble your team. You’re not alone when you sell by owner. You’ll still need to rely on the expertise of these three key experts: appraiser, mortgage lender and attorney or title company.

What tips do you have for getting a home ready to list?


Spring Into Selling Season

We don’t want to jinx it, but we could we be looking at a real seller’s market. A limited number of homes for sale and rising home prices are driving more buyers to market early to take advantage of low mortgage interest rates. Before they pounce on your house, use these real estate insider tips to make sure you’re prepared for spring selling season.

1. Good News! More Americans are signing contracts to purchase homes than they have in over two years. Check out last month’s most popular listings, and see which homes caught the attention of house hunters. Once you’re properly inspired, get our secrets to a great property listing, and refresh your listing and description so they appeal to springtime buyers.

2. Is Your Price Right? Setting the right price is critical. So is understanding how much buyers are likely to offer. Get a grip on both with our Interactive Pricing Guide. Loaded with estimators, lists and resources for gaining insight into today’s real estate market, this comprehensive guide will help you set an asking price that attracts buyers.

Print this: 9 ways to price your home right from the start » 

3. Read the Buyer’s Mind. Conditions are aligning for a strong start to the spring home selling market. Anticipating what buyers want and knowing how to answer their questions will help you close the deal.

4. The Art of Staging: You only get one chance at a first impression, so make sure your home looks its best when potential buyers walk through the door. Avoid the most common staging mistakes with these tips on how to stage your home.

5. Don’t Sell Yourself Short. From a higher sale price to the potential for monthly income, answer these questions and get as much out of seller financing as your buyer.

How are you getting ready for the spring selling season?