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Tips to Sell Your House Today if You Haven’t Sold Since 2008

At HomeLight, our vision is a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying. Therefore, we promote strict editorial integrity in each of our posts.

You lucked out when the real estate market crashed in 2008. Your job wasn’t affected by the economic downturn and you weren’t underwater on your mortgage, which meant you were able to ride out the last decade’s real estate market storm in relative comfort.

But being out of the real estate game so long means you’ve missed some things. Heck, the last time you looked at real estate, we were still waiting on the first generation iPhone.

You’ve heard the market has bounced back but you’re not sure how much or for how long. And do you even know how to sell a home in 2017? Did you know people use drones for real estate photos now?

Don’t get overwhelmed.

Here’s everything you’ll need to know before you try to sell a home in 2018.

Post-Bust Real Estate Market Booms

Few aspects of the economy were left unscathed by the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007, least of all real estate. In the decade since, the market has grown with varying levels of strength and has actually recovered in certain areas. Still, there’s a good chance your market isn’t among these, as the recovery has been imbalanced across the country.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency found that nationwide home prices increased by 6% from Q1 2016 to Q1 2017, with the strongest gains reported in the Pacific and Mountain West regions. Such growth has some economists concerned that the market is currently in a second bubble, as hot markets like San Francisco have already seen a dip in home prices.

What this means if you need to sell your house today:

Local, local, local!

Your real estate market went through its own unique changes following the crash. Small nuances like local politics, changes in your local job market, and fluctuations in home inventories impact the outlook for home sellers.

Speak to a top local real estate agent to figure out how your housing market is currently trending – while most markets favor sellers, yours might not.

a small town local impacts real estate and sell your house today
Source: (Leigh Trail / Shutterstock)

It’s a Seller’s World Out There

Even if you’ve been completely removed from the world of real estate, you’ve probably heard that it’s a seller’s market for homes – possibly one of the strongest ever.

The National Association of Realtors reported just this month that demand continues to outpace the supply of homes on the market, even as home sales dropped in recent months. And yet this drop of sales has been attributed to a lack of supply and rising home prices – both indicators of a very strong seller’s market.

What this means if you need to sell your house today:

Now is a great time to sell a home in most markets. With inventories low, buyers are motivated and eager to snatch up homes quickly. As a seller, you should plan for this type of quick turnaround and expect multiple offers on your home shortly after listing. Keep in mind that this cuts both ways – as easy as it is to sell your home, it may be equally difficult to find and buy your next one.

a person typing on laptop look online to sell your house today in tech software
Source: (David Sherry / Death to the Stock Photo)

Real Estate Marketing – A Whole New World

Despite a decade of market upheaval, technology is likely the biggest agent of change in the world of real estate in recent years. Services like Zillow and Trulia, social media, and mobile technology have all flipped traditional real estate on its head in favor of quicker, more agile ways to buy homes.

“Buyers are savvy,” says Pam Charron, who’s in the top 4% of sellers’ agents in Sarasota, Florida, “there’s a wealth of information online.”

Buyers expect to be able to find most listed homes on sites like Zillow and more than ever before, they do their research. These savvy buyers also expect to be sold on a home before they buy – gone are the days of buying a home after one walkthrough.

Drone video, 3D walkthroughs, HD pictures, and video have all come into prominence in recent years as the technologies become cheaper and easier to use. Alongside these have come a slew of real estate smartphone apps where people can easily view homes for sale around them and explore them on their phones. And don’t forget the prevalence of social media, which has become a necessity in the world of real estate advertising.

Beyond changes in technology, one thing worth keeping in mind when marketing your home is the styling. If you’re coming back into the real estate market for the first time in a few years, there’s a chance that tastes in homes have changed since you bought your house.

“People can say ‘my home is bigger, it’s in great condition,’ but if you have dark cabinets and a dark granite countertop, forget it,” Charron says. She explains that in her market, Mediterranean styling has fallen out of style while coastal styles with light paint and open spaces has taken favor.

What this means if you’re selling your house today:

If you want to keep up in this brave new world of real estate marketing, you’re going to need some help. To start, just browse around online to get a feel for your local market. “If you want to see what today’s trends are, Zillow and Houzz are a great source of information,” Charron suggests.

Once you’ve taken a cursory look at the market, it’s time to go deeper. Find a top real estate agent in your area and pick their brain about your market:

  • What types of homes are selling around me?
  • Styles?
  • Price points?

Next, make sure they offer the types of marketing assets needed to keep up with other sellers; if they’re taking listing photos with their phone, run away.

a photo of the white house to show how politics affect decision to sell your house today
Source: (Andrea Izzotti / Shutterstock)

How Have Politics Affected the Market?

As politics have leaked into seemingly every aspect of U.S. life since the 2016 presidential election, real estate has largely been untouched by the new administration in Washington.

Beyond President Trump’s decision on his first day in office to eliminate an FHA loan fee reduction, the administration has enacted few policies that directly impact real estate markets.

However, this isn’t to say new policy hasn’t impacted real estate – it definitely has.

With Republicans holding both chambers of Congress along with the White House, the stock market has experienced huge gains on the prospect of lower taxes and less regulation. Traditionally, a strong stock market indicates a strong economy and thus a strong real estate market.

But (!) the huge gains seen on Wall Street are based largely on speculation – the speculation that the Trump administration can push through its policy agenda to reduce taxes and financial regulations. Further, many investors (including billionaire Julian Robertson) warn that the stock market is facing an emerging bubble.

What this means if you’re selling your home today:

Right now, the political landscape is bolstering the stock market and, in turn, real estate markets. This means that home sellers are not only going to sell homes quickly, but for higher prices. However, politics changes rapidly (even more so lately) and with a potential swing election coming up just next year, the stock market could easily lose the gains it’s made this year.

If You’re Selling Your House It’s Time You Caught Up

It’s been a crazy decade in the world of real estate and things aren’t looking to calm down anytime soon. Still, now is an excellent time to sell a home in most parts of the country – if you’ve done your homework.

Bone up on your local housing market online and when you’re ready to make the move, reach out to a local real estate pro to get the lay of the land. Happy selling!