Just 2 in 10 Americans Think It's a Good Time to Buy a Home. Here Are 3 Tips Sellers Need to Know

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KEY POINTS

  • Only 17% of Americans think it's a good time to buy a home.
  • Sellers may have a harder time finding buyers than anticipated -- and should make an extra effort to appeal to them.


Buyers are fairly pessimistic about purchasing a home these days. That means sellers may have to work harder in the coming months.

For the past year and change, sellers had it pretty easy given the state of the real estate market. Basically, all they really had to do was list a home, and boom -- they'd commonly be bombarded with eager buyers looking to pay above asking price.

But things are slowly but surely shifting. In recent months, home price gains have cooled and more inventory has hit the market. That's putting sellers in a position where they have to try much harder to market their homes.

Meanwhile, buyers are less optimistic about the notion of purchasing a home today. In a recent Fannie Mae survey, only 17% think it's a good time to buy a home. And while 67% of sellers still insist that it's a good time to put a home up on the market, that's down from 76% who felt the same way two months ago.

Compounding the issue is rising mortgage rates. As mortgages get more expensive, buyers might pull out of the market and wait for home prices to drop. That's a situation sellers will no doubt want to get ahead of.

If you're hoping to sell your home this year, you may need to make some adjustments to your plans in light of changing market conditions and buyer sentiment. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Cosmetic issues can kill a sale

If today's housing market mimicked that of the summer of 2021, cosmetic issues would be something you could perhaps ignore as a seller, as buyers were commonly overlooking them. But these days, you may need to try harder to find a buyer. And that means addressing cosmetic issues before showing your house.

The good thing about cosmetic issues is that they tend to be low-cost fixes. It doesn't take much money or effort to repaint a room whose walls are peeling, or to invest in new carpeting. At a time when buyers may be getting choosier, some small investments could go a long way.

2. Curb appeal is key

Your home's exterior is the first thing potential buyers will see when they come to scope out your property. It pays to put a little money into your curb appeal so buyers get a great initial impression. The last thing you want is for them to show up and run the other way when they take in your broken fence and overgrown shrubs.

3. It's best to get ahead of major repairs

Last year, many buyers were waiving home inspections in an effort to get their offers accepted. These days, buyers may be less willing to go that route. And so it's a good idea to address major repairs before putting your home on the market.

Any large issue, like a leaking roof or non-functional heating system, is going to be immediately obvious to any seasoned home inspector. Rather than give a buyer a reason to walk away, fix those issues from the start so they don't cost you a sale.

The fact that buyer sentiment is on the decline isn't shocking given that home prices are still expensive and borrowing has gotten costlier. As a seller, you may need to make more of an effort to cater to buyers -- and help ensure that your home doesn't sit on the market too long once you've listed it.

Our Research Expert

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