Your Local Housing Market: How Bad Is It?

Your Local Housing Market: How Bad Is It?


The condition of your local housing market could be quite different from the national picture. A knowledgeable real estate agent can help you navigate a tough market.

The condition of your local housing market could be quite different from the national picture. A knowledgeable real estate agent can help you navigate a tough market.

You’re planning to move sometime over the next several months, but the current housing market has you worried. That house you purchased four years ago when the market was hot may not be so easy to unload today. If you are being transferred by a company and they’ve promised to handle the sale of your home, then you don’t have much to be concerned about. However, if you’re moving on your own, can you withstand the current housing slump?

Scour the internet or tune into cable news and you’ll be under the distinct impression that you’re going to have trouble selling your home. Foreclosures are way up, housing values are down, and consumers are finding it difficult to make ends meet. This kind of news doesn’t bode well for the person who needs to sell their home, not with a saturated seller’s market on hand.

Though the news may be downright nasty, you can still sell your home if you consider the following points:

Know Your Local Market — Most of the news about the real estate market is taking a look at the national scene, not local markets. When people hear that a home was being sold for $1 in Detroit recently, it can be easy to think that things are bad everywhere. While Detroit, Miami, and Los Angeles are certainly down, Houston, San Antonio, and Raleigh are seeing housing values on the rise. Even from neighborhood to neighborhood you’ll see differences as a home’s location can make a difference. Remember this: people are always buying homes.

First Appearances — Homes on the market today have to be presented in the best possible light. When a potential buyer pulls up in front of your home, will they want to get out of their car and come in? Keep the grass trimmed, the yard clean, shrubbery cut back, and paint or fix anything that can detract from the home. Once inside, will the buyer be turned off by a living room crowded with furniture? Consider thinning out your furnishings. Touch up paint, fix ripped carpeting, replace broken fixtures, or do other projects which are needed to get your home in “move in” condition.

Offer Incentives — If your local market is particularly tight, be prepared to offer incentives to sell your home. Consider covering some of the buyer’s closing costs or to offer something else to sweeten the deal. For example, a young couple may consider buying your home if you include some furnishings with the sale. Be creative — you need to think of ways to move your home especially if your market is sour.

Wait It Out — If you are unable to sell your home and you have some flexibility as far as when you must move, then delaying your plans by six months to a year could be the best option. Some analysts are expecting that the housing market will begin to improve next year as the bulk of the foreclosures and bad loan arrangements are put behind borrowers. If you must move, consider renting out your house or dropping the price and taking a loss.

Should you have to take a loss on the sale of your current home there could be a silver lining for you: the house you plan on buying could have also dropped in value, erasing your loss altogether.

Adv. — If you’re planning to sell your home, visit for fix up ideas and to find an agent.


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Categories: Home Selling

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".