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Smart Tactics in a Slowing Market

Nov 02, 2015 08:42PM ● By Glenn Allen

Keep the Seller’s Edge with Proactive Steps

As we round the corner towards the end of 2015, real estate markets are cooling down. The effects of slowing in the US economy, the reduction of first time buyers’ ability to purchase homes, and general economic uncertainty are all dampening the recent seller's market. With the median list price of properties up and inventories growing compared to earlier this year, there is definitely some cause for concern. Prospective home buyers have more homes to look at, and their dollar doesn't stretch as far as it did before. With the added pressure of rising rates, they are bound to be more discriminating. 

Don't let this information dissuade you, though. You can still get the price you want; you just need to be smart about it. Here are some proven ways to make your home stand out above the competition and give prospective buyers that extra incentive to make an offer on your home.

Enhance and Stage

The purpose of staging is to help the buyer visualize themselves in your home by creating an inviting and livable space. Staging isn't just beautification. Done right, it removes the obstacles that might trigger doubt and replaces them with solutions. For instance, investing in custom storage for a small but visible closet lets prospective buyers know that they will have enough space for their own things. Some other tips are:

  • Repair cosmetic damage, like cracks in the drywall, chipped paint, or a broken porch railing.
  • Make sure your whole house, including the windows, is sparkling. 
  • Remove the clutter.
  • Create "spotlight zones" that suggest innovative uses for the space. For instance, create a home office in a hallway vestibule or underneath a stairway.
  • Focus on curb appeal to make the buyer's first impression a positive one. 

Have a Pre-Sale Inspection Done

Making a pre-sale inspection of your property available to prospective buyers gives you a huge psychological advantage. Essentially, you are telling them, "I have nothing to hide." It's also a big advantage for you. The inspection may reveal problems with your home that you are unaware of. Knowing in advance what those problems are gives you the opportunity to address them before the property goes under contract, which can save you thousands of dollars. 

Price Your Property Right

There are few cases where a seller can afford to let their property just sit on the market, waiting for that perfect buyer. Most sellers need to make a quick sale. Moreover, properties that don't sell within a month of being listed get "stale." Prospective buyers and their agents lose interest, showings go down, and the result may be one or more price reductions. 

Listing at the right price involves extensive research into comparable properties in your area - and listening to your agent's advice. Sellers can be their own worst enemies when it comes to pricing their home for sale, letting attachment to the property color their judgment. The agent is your trusted voice of reason.

Go with an Experienced Local Agent 

Real estate experience matters the most in a changing market. I've had my eye on the East Bay real estate market swings for over 26 years, and I know how to act swiftly and decisively to get my clients the highest price possible.

To find out more about how to develop a winning strategy for your home, please contact me at 925.709.1000 or visit You can also read more articles about staging and pre-sale inspection at