Important Factors to Know When Selling a Home in a “Buyers Market”


Sellers faced with a difficult economy must make sure they have done all they can to maximize their chances to sell at a good price.  Selecting the right real estate broker, understanding current market conditions, making sure your home is shown in its best light and having your attorney in place are particularly important in a buyers market.  Sellers who fail to adapt to the current trend will find themselves forced to sit with their properties for longer periods of time and end up getting lower prices than prepared sellers who adjust their expectations and selling strategies.

As an experienced Staten Island Real Estate Attorney, I have seen all types of markets Unlike the mid 2000’s when sellers had the upper hand with multiple buyers bidding up prices, today’s depressed market has many more sellers chasing the fewer buyers.  With foreclosures and short sales flooding the market, non distress sellers need to adapt their expectations and selling strategies.  To successfully sell your home for a good price, savvy owners must take into account three key areas before beginning the process of selling your home – your realtor, your market and your home’s condition.


In a down market a seller’s normal tendency is to adjust to the lower home value by trying to cut selling costs.  Since a broker’s commission is usually the highest closing cost incurred by a seller many try to save by selling on their own – For Sale by Owner (FISBO).  I always ask FISBO clients some important questions – how did you set the price, how are you going to market the house and how will you pre-qualify the buyer, all items that a realtor normally takes care of.  While a good idea in theory a FISBO seller who is lucky enough to sell on his own usually ends up with a sale that took longer , gave him a lot more uncertainty and stress and he ends up netting the same (or less) money that he would have gotten in he hired a skilled realtor.


Several years ago sellers had all the leverage when negotiating a sales contract.  Price, house condition, closing date, contract down payment, mortgage amounts and other negotiated terms were all done with the knowledge that the seller could reject a buyer and another one was around the corner.  Today’s market is totally different as buyer’s have lots of houses to choose from which gives them a decided advantage when negotiating sales terms.  Buyers expect to get a good deal and can drive a hard bargain as sellers worry that if they allow a qualified buyer to get away they may not find another one.  Buyer requests which were not even considered such as lower contract deposits, home repairs, early or extended closing date and even contingent contracts (for sale of buyer’s current home) are now regularly agreed to by anxious sellers.  A seller should discuss his goals with his attorney before putting his house on the market.  A house must be realistically priced and the seller flexible and ready to respond to a buyer’s demands.