The magic window for sellers just opened – the first two weeks of May are the best time to list a home, according to research from online real estate company Zillow. This is when sellers can make more money and sell faster.
The 2019 housing market is already showing marked differences from last year.
Home value appreciation nationwide fell below 7% annually for the first time in more than two years, and some of the formerly hottest markets – especially those along the West Coast – are now among the slowest-appreciating.
Along with slowing home value growth, homes are sitting on the market longer and more sellers are making price cuts. Buyers are gaining negotiating power in most of the nation's major metros, a welcome change after years of tight inventory and strong competition.
With the shifting market, Zillow has tips to help buyers and sellers navigate this year's home shopping season.
Tips for sellers
- If you've got it, flaunt it. Highlighting desirable features in your listing description can help your home sell for a premium. Listings mentioning high-end kitchen finishes like steam ovens and professional appliances sold for a more than 30% premium, suggesting that these types of features are found in homes that have many desirable amenities.
- Give buyers a virtual tour. Home shoppers rely on online resources. Zillow's new 3D Home mobile platform makes it simple to grab your smartphone and quickly add a free 3D tour to any listing, giving buyers an authentic sense of your home.
- Online appeal is the new curb appeal. In a slower market, it's even more important to tackle a few improvement projects to make a home more appealing to buyers. But be prepared – the most common home prep projects, which are a fresh coat of paint or spruced up landscaping, can cost thousands of dollars for professional work.
- Consider a new alternative. The traditional route may not work for all sellers, and new alternatives give them more options. Zillow Offers lets sellers skip the hassle with a free, no-obligation cash offer, so they can get into their next home on their timeline -- no prep work, showings or open houses required.
Tips for buyers
- Prioritize your search. Make a list of your requirements, and what you'd like but are willing to compromise on – things like size, outdoor space and commute time. According to Zillow data, nearly 60% of buyers who stayed within their budget compromised on their home purchase to do so.
- Take care of financing before you find the perfect home. Being pre-approved for a home loan means shoppers can make a competitive offer as soon as they find their dream home.
- Hire a local agent with a winning track record. Use the right real estate professional to guide you through the process, and make sure your desires are being met. This is especially important for first-time buyers, who are more likely to make multiple offers before buying a home than repeat buyers. The new "Best of Zillow" program identifies top-rated agents who provide exceptional service and have a proven record of helping buyers succeed.
- Avoid big life changes. Would-be homebuyers should think twice before changing jobs or making large purchases while shopping for a home. That can raise red flags to a mortgage lender and cause hurdles when qualifying for a home loan.
Find out more at www.zillow.com.