House hunting is challenging enough at any time; shopping during a seller’s market is a whole additional difficulty level—and that’s what would-be buyers are seeing across the country. The supply of homes is low, demand is high, and sellers are in control. If you’re not careful, you’ll be left drying your eyes with the broken shards of your rejected bid. Sound painful? It is.
So you’d best bring your A-game, or don’t bother showing up at all.
Check out the seller’s market survival tips below to stand out from the competition and get the edge.
Know the signs
Even though you may hear you’re in a seller’s market, where’s the proof? While the market varies based on where you live, you can watch for these two red flags:
- Houses are selling for more than asking price.
- Homes sell quickly, and inventory doesn’t hang around.
Look through our listings for your area. If the majority of houses have been sitting on the market for more than six months, it’s not a seller’s market. But if only those ultraluxe properties have been on the market for over a few months, that indicates houses are getting snatched up quickly.
Commit to being on call
To succeed in a seller’s market, you have to make house hunting a priority—not just something you fit in here and there on the weekends if you have nothing better to do.
“If you’re only looking now and then when it’s convenient, you’re probably wasting your time,” says James Malmberg, an agent in Sherman Oaks, CA. Treat house hunting as if you were job hunting: Scour listings regularly, and if someone calls about a viewing, head in at their earliest convenience—not your own—and follow up promptly if you feel it’s a fit.