The truth of the matter is no-one really knows. Every year at this time Realtors are pricing their listings based on last year's sales. That's always a challenge because November and December are historically the slowest months for sales. We don't have a lot of sale comparables to work with. Most agents just assume the new year will be at least as good as the previous year so they price their new listings accordingly. Here's the dilemma.
We've now had 6-7 years of continued growth, a strong real estate market, rising prices, and a relative shortage of homes in all price points. But we all know that can't go on forever. We at KW have been preparing for a market shift (from the seller side to the buyer side) for a couple of years now. We just didn't know when it was going to happen. If the last half of 2018 is any indication, we're already in it.
If we are in a market shift, what should you be doing to sell your home in 2019?
Price your home conservatively. 2019 will not be the year of the "home run" so don't try to hit one. The days of building in excessive "fluff" for negotiations are over. Buyers will just move on to the next home if yours is not priced fairly right out of the box. There's just too much product and uncertainty out there.
Understand this is now a beauty contest for homes. In hot markets sellers can get away with getting their homes on the market in less than ideal condition. They knew there were more buyers than sellers and the buyers couldn't afford to be too picky. Just having a home on the market in decent shape was often all that was required. In 2019, buyers will be paying more attention to the condition of the home. If there's too much work to be done cosmetically or in the way of repairs, they won't make an offer. They'll just move on to the next home.
Be reasonable. You might be surprised to know we sometimes get just one shot a year to sell each of our million dollar plus estate homes in Fairview, Lucas, and Parker. Doesn't sound like good odds? Remember, these are all small markets by number of homes and when you consider the scarcity of buyers who are able to pay a million dollars or more for a home, the potential buyer pool is very small. The older homes are also competing with the ever increasing number of million dollar plus "spec" homes coming out of the ground. Of course, those spec homes won't have the trees, mature landscaping, or pool you might find on the older homes, but they will be brand new with all the bells and whistles. What we're suggesting is you weigh the pros and cons of selling earlier at a price you might not be thrilled with versus passing on the opportunity in hopes of a better down the road. And that might never come.
Get your home out there early. I've always considered the "golden selling months" to be March through August. Buyers typically start looking in March but don't make their buying decisions until summer. We usually see a gradual ramping up of activity from March all the way through July, then it starts to cool off as parents are getting their kids ready for the new school year. However, for some reason I really can't explain, we're seeing more sales earlier in the year and it actually starts to slow down pretty dramatically by mid-summer. If you're selling your home this year, don't wait until the weather is warm and everything starts to green up. By then, you might have already missed out on the buyer for your home. Get your home out there earlier than later. We reshoot all exterior pictures of listings we take during the winter anyway so your home will be photographed at the absolute best time of the year ... around mid-May or so.
Don't wait too long to make necessary price adjustments. Pay attention to the market information your agent is providing you. If you start to see similar homes selling for less, don't be stubborn about it. Stay competitive on pricing and you'll be fine. Collin County has always been a stable market without major swings in either direction.