Something from Nothing: What Today’s Low Inventory Means for Sellers

By Todd Waller

Last week, I wrote about historically low levels of inventory experienced in real estate markets around the country and how the lack of properties might affect buyers. Today, I want to talk about what this market condition means for sellers, especially as we remain in a “seller’s market” heading into spring.

As frustrating as lack of inventory can be for buyers, it sounds like a great time for sellers, doesn’t it? Well, when it comes to the final sales price and the time on market, you would be generally correct. But there is one little thing called convenience and it can quickly become an issue.

If you are selling your home in an area with a short days-on-market average and your home is priced at market value, you can expect a near-stampede of buyers through your home. Of course, your mileage may vary, as we are talking about homes that appeal to the majority of buyers in your marketplace. This constant traffic of buyers wandering through your home can make you think about installing a revolving door at your entrance. Or a robotic mop to clean the floors.

Here in Southeast Michigan, I created a great solution for frustrated sellers:

  • Digital marketing separates the onlookers from the serious prospects. I hire a professional photographer to shoot my listings and have a narrated, walkthrough video of each home to show potential buyers. In addition to these digital assets, I create a single property website where the home can be experienced in a virtual setting and visitors can learn more about the community in which the home is located. This allows buyers to experience the home at their convenience. Typically, buyers walk into my listings to convince themselves that this is what they saw online.
  • Showings begin at the open house. When I list a home, the showings begin at the open house. Typically, the home is listed on a Wednesday and then I hold the open house on Sunday from 2 – 4 p.m. I hold absolutely no showings prior to that open house.
  • No highest and best offer speeds the process along. I will usually wander out of the open house with at least one offer in hand, and/or threats of multiple offers via email. In many cases, there is no need for highest and best in this scenario. So, agents are told to have their buyers put their best offer forward. This helps up wrap the process quickly, for both the buyer and the seller.

In the end, these solutions allow for greater convenience for the seller. The open house is typically the only time sellers are inconvenienced to leave their home for showings. There may be a follow-up showing on a Sunday evening or Monday morning but that’s the totality of the traffic through the seller’s home. Directing buyers to put their best offer forward cuts through the seemingly endless back and forth to settle on terms and conditions with which all parties are comfortable.

TODD WALLER is a REALTOR® with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Snyder & Company, REALTORS® in Ann Arbor, MI. Visit his website and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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