Since the downturn in the economy of 2008, the real estate market has been challenging for REALTORS and purchasers and sellers. For those who have cash for a home purchase or are able to secure a mortgage, it has never been an opportunity to purchase properties. Real Estate is, and will stay for a while in a buyer's market. Sellers are still adjusting to this change and should be realistic about what this means as they prepare their home to be sold. I'll discuss both the buyer and seller's perspectives in this article so that both sides can get a better understanding of the tenor of the present market. home buyers: what Are They Looking for in the current real Estate Market? As buyers are limited to a few choices, they can afford to be selective when it comes to the homes they choose to purchase. In the present, I've noticed that many of my buyers would like to have instant equity when they buy. There are opportunities to buy short sales or foreclosure properties that allow buyers to get equity provided the property is in good shape. Most of the time these kinds of purchases of homes need updates and/or repairs. Home buyers wishing to obtain 'instant equity' in the purchase of their home must prepare with two options. The first is that a down payment of between 5-20% is necessary based on the type of loan they're eligible for. Home buyers also need to be sure that their credit scores are high enough to be able to get loan approval. The buyers who prefer to buy properties which aren't bank owned will be looking to make the purchase based on a current appraised value. A smart buyer of homes will we buy any house seek out a property that is in good condition. The buyer of this type will most likely want to move in without having to perform any work on the property. These types of expectations are particularly true of property purchases in which people are moving from larger homes to smaller houses. Even though some states may not need it, buyers will demand home inspections prior to purchase. I advise my home buyers to not get obsessed with the aesthetics of the property (i.e. carpets need to be replaced, gaps in the wall and wood rot on your railing). These small issues in the home can be fixed easily. I advise home buyers to concentrate on the structural integrity of the property instead. That means plumbing, electric, heating, air conditioning and roofs must be in good order. These aspects of a home affect the integrity of the building, and can require time-consuming and costly repairs. Remember that some FHA loans and VA loans are not approved for mortgages unless the property is well-constructed. Homebuyers today do not have the luxury of owning a home and selling it one year or two after. Buyers of homes should be planning to own the home for three or more years, even if it has to be converted into rental property. Today's buyers of real estate have many more demands than buyers did in the past three years or more. Selling homes: Time to A Reality Check For properties that are for sale and I am the listing agent, I counsel my sellers to keep to the core advantages of the property. If the seller really wants to sell, he needs to evaluate current pricing along with location and condition. Pricing a Property to Sell There's no question about it: price is the most important criterion of real estate transactions today. A majority of cities and counties have raised the assessments over the past five years. At present, the assessments are often equivalent to current appraised values. This is not ideal news for homeowners who have lost their equity in their home. In many real estate markets, short sales and foreclosures are offered near the property that is listed and appraisers must use these comparable sales in trying to estimate the value of a house. Sellers should NOT be surprised if an agent asks them to price their property below current assessed values. It is required if there are numerous distressed properties or foreclosures in the area, and homeowners are selling their properties at lower than market value due to necessity. When I approach a property seller to reduce the price he or she is asking for in exchange for a reduction in price, they are likely to take it personally. It is just like I said to the seller that their children look ugly and the grandchildren will look ugly, too. Sellers of homes: it's time for a reality check. Don't believe the idea to lower a selling price as a personal attack! I can tell when a house is properly priced due to a high level of interest , as indicated by an increasing number of inquiries and showings. If a home has been on the market for at least three months but it hasn't been advertised, it is probably priced too high. Selling a Home in a Convenient or Popular Locality Do not try to improve your home to make it more appealing to the neighbors. Home sellers should remember this rule of thumb in real estate: your home doesn't have to be the largest and the best, but it's surely beneficial to be the biggest and best. If a home is close to a metropolis, or in an upscale subdivision, more buyers will desire to buy it. The most desirable locations should be included in the price. If a property is situated 25 minutes away from the town and it takes a half hour to reach a store and back, the time that a house is on the market will most likely be longer. Sellers: Take a Critical Check on the Condition of the Home and make changes The first impression that a prospective buyer receives of a home is one that will be remembered. Landscapes do not cost much, and is well worth the investment in the event of selling your home. Curb appeal can encourage buyers to get out of the car and walk into the house. Place flowers in the garden. Make a wreath for the door. If a house is characterized by old carpet with orange shags and green laminate countertops, this will reflect in the cost of the home. Make sure you invest some money in improving the property. If a seller is really committed to closing a home sale, then he she will want it to stand out from other properties. Sellers have come to expect that they will be compensated for upgrades and improvements. However, in this marketplace however, the situation is different. Keep in mind that buyers can afford to be selective. Make the necessary improvements to the property in order to make it more enticing and to assist in making the home sell more quickly. But don't expect these upgrades to increase the price of a property. The more outdated a house is, the longer it will sit in the real estate market. A buyer could just as easily purchase a bank owned property that is in need of improvement for a lower cost. It is a price-driven market. You can make your home easier to sell by making the necessary improvements before it goes to market. Where do home buyers and sellers meet? There are excellent houses available on the market for sale and some great deals at the moment. When both sides are prepared to talk and be reasonable, they will inevitably reach the final table. A house in foreclosure with mortgage payment, tax and utility expenses sap monthly incomes and financial reserves. Homeowners who have had a property listed for sale for some time should seriously consider dropping the price between $5,000 and $10,000 to finalize an offer, instead of taking money out every month. What to Expect When Selling a Home in the Current market for Real Estate Market... As down payments are no longer required, home buyers will typically request closing costs to be borne by the seller. If the seller isn't in a position to pay all closing costs I suggest they offer at the very least some type of assistance. If the property is sold as is, and the buyer is not planning on making any upgrades, be prepared to negotiate price.