Misconceptions About a Seller’s Market

A real estate agent shows a listed home to a man and a woman.

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The housing market is hot, but some homeowners may overestimate just how hot it is when they go to sell. Real estate professionals shared with realtor.com® a few unrealistic expectations that some of their sellers have had, such as that their home has doubled in value since they bought it or that they shouldn’t have to make any repairs before closing.

“One of the biggest mistakes sellers can make is going with aspirational pricing just because it is a seller’s market,” Jeremy Bolger, a real estate salesperson with Brown Harris Stevens in New York City, told realtor.com®. “We have seen many deals get multiple offers and go at or over ask, but they almost always stem from buyers sensing some form of value. And if there is no perceived value, buyers will often stay on the sidelines, even with limited inventory.”

Not everything will sell for a price far above list price or as quickly as in a few days—or mere hours—even in this hot housing market. Real estate pros told realtor.com® that some of their sellers believe their home will sell in a few days and then become disappointed when it doesn’t. Homes that need some repairs, are in a higher price range, or have quirky features may still linger on the market, realtor.com® notes.

Also, even in a seller’s market, homeowners will still need to make repairs. Investors may be willing to overlook some repairs, but many buyers are in search of move-in ready, agents say.

“If the seller has a place that needs a touch-up or decorative work, it’s usually a good idea to do it ahead of listing,” Bolger told realtor.com®. “Construction and renovation costs are up sharply with all the supply chain issues. Buyers can be wary of purchasing a place that they will have to do work on, especially since the money spent there needs to be fully out of pocket versus buying a move-in-ready product and having everything rolled into the mortgage.”