Definition of a Seller's Market:
A real estate market which has more buyers than sellers. Higher home prices due to a shortage of available inventory.
What Does This Mean to You, as a Seller?
Home prices are not only rising, but they're also selling fast. Appreciation of value has been noted in all areas of the Capital District for at least the past year, with average time on market hovering around 80 days. The ratio for list-to-sale price is around 97%. It's the most profitable time to sell your home in almost a decade. With a decreased inventory of available properties, and buyers trying to become homeowners while the interest rates remain low, it's not uncommon to see multiple offers on a home if it's been well maintained, updated, and is priced correctly. This is frustrating to a buyer, but again it's great news for a seller, maximizing their profits.
Don't wait until spring to put your home on the market. There's a misconception out there that spring is the best time to sell your home, but this is not necessarily the case. With fewer homes on the market in winter there's a lot less competition. The buyers that are out there househunting in winter are serious buyers. They're going to by a home regardless. Is there any reason why it shouldn't be yours? Just be certain to list with a local area expert that has the brokerage tools available for marketing your home to the widest possible audience.
If you are going to wait until spring to list your home now is still a good time to meet with a Realtor® so you have an idea as to what can be done in the next few months to maximize your home's value.
What Does This Mean to You as a Buyer?
There's going to be some tough competition out there for every home that goes on the market. As a buyer, you'll want to position yourself in the most favorable way possible to a seller. This can be accomplished in several ways, but some may not be available to you given your particular situation. The best way to prepare for this is to have a discussion with a real estate professional. Be prepared to pay up if you really want the house; go in with your best offer and don't over-analyze things. Although this sounds scary, once you do the math for a monthly payment it's really not that bad. For every $10,000 you finance you can expect to pay roughly $60/month on the mortgage.
Don't wait until spring to begin househunting. Although there will likely be more properties available then, your competition will be fierce. If you're pre-qualified for a mortgage then start the process sooner than later. Not only will there be less competition, but you're likely to get a better price on a home in the middle of winter if it'sd been on the market for awhile, and less likely to end up in a bidding war. With rents constantly rising to an all-time high, and mortgage programs geared at minimal down payments and lower credit scores, shouldn't you consider home ownership? It's at least worth the call to an agent that specializes in the area you're looking to find out what's involved and if you can get pre-qualified.