For over 17 months, homes were flying off the market for more than the asking price.
But that changed in August. For the first time since March 2021, the average sale-to-list ratio dropped below 100%, according to Redfin.
The ease in the market makes sense. With higher mortgage rates, it costs more money for buyers to borrow money, making them more price sensitive. In some cases, buyers have become so financially burdened that they’ve put their home search on hold.
The reason (we’ve dipped below 100%) for the first time since March of 2021 is because things are decelerating, not declining. There’s a difference. We were going 150 mph on the highway, and now we’re going 75 mph, getting back to a much more normal pace.
Just because the market is decelerating doesn’t mean the days of 100% sale-to-list ratios are over. Here are three ways to get your sellers top dollar in the fall market.
Make the Home Look its Best
This one seems like a no-brainer, but we all saw how sloppy things got during the height of the market. Some sellers didn’t even bother to make the bed or take out the trash, knowing a sale was a sure thing.
But things are shifting. Help your sellers get their home in prime condition before listing. Make sure it looks its best for listing photos and videos, and then make sure it stays that way for showings.
Here are a few checklist items from Paige Steckling to complete before taking photos:
- Declutter, clean, and depersonalize. Make it as easy as possible for buyers to envision themselves in the home.
- Maximize curb appeal. First impressions count, so make the house and property shine from the outside.
- Touch up paint. This simple step can make a huge difference in brightening up any space.
- Stage furniture to highlight the best features in each room.
Become Great at Marketing
As days on market begins to increase, marketing becomes more and more important.
Putting a sign in the yard, the obligatory “Just Listed” IG post, and the listing on the MLS isn’t enough anymore. According to the Massive Agent, “it never was enough, but lazy agents got tricked into thinking it was because of wildly out of whack market conditions.”
The best listing agents are also master marketers. They understand that it’s a battle for eyeballs. The more people who see the house, the faster it will sell, and for the most money.
For many, this means it’s time to level up marketing skills. In order to make the properties you represent stand out, you must go above and beyond what every other agent is doing. There are countless agents who say they market a property but only do the bare minimum.
If you want to get the highest price for your sellers, stop lying to them about how great you are at marketing and actually get great at marketing.
The marketing and advertising you do for a listing should be award-worthy. If that is out of your league to pull off, you owe it to them to outsource it to someone who can.
Most agents’ marketing is either average or invisible. I feel terrible for the sellers who get misled during listing appointments.
Price it Right—the First Time
Every agent we spoke with agreed that pricing strategies are more important now than ever. Even the best marketing won’t bring in offers if the property has an outrageous asking price.
It’s important to remember that you can’t out-market an overpriced home. It’s important to list it right the first time!
Educating your clients is critical in landing at the right listing price because many are comparing today’s market to the first and second quarters of 2022.
Sellers really need to dive into comps to be sure they are priced competitively. Whereas at the beginning of the year, they could name a price, and chances are someone would pay well above that.
When you price competitively, there’s opportunity for multiple offers above asking price. So, what is the best price point for sellers?
Proper pricing is key! As the market slows, it’s imperative to price a house 5%-10% lower than comparable houses in that area. The results have been bidding wars and targeted sale prices.
Top Takeaways for Agents
In a decelerating market, going back to the basics will add value to every client you work with. When working with sellers:
- Get the home in prime condition.
- Have a proven marketing strategy.
- Price the home competitively.
Be sure to educate sellers on why you are doing things this way, so they know they are in the best hands possible.