Selling Your Home in A Buyer's Market

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Executive Realty 91362

There are many who have thought about selling their home but have not due to the decline in market values over the last few years. This is understandable UNLESS you are going to be buying another home under the same market conditions!

Sure market values have dipped quite a bit here in Metrowest Massachusetts. The value of homes in many towns has dropped by 20% or more since the peak in 2005. The $600,000 home you bought in 2005 may now have a value around $500,000. The point is if your are staying local it does not really matter. Why? Simple... you will be buying under the same market forces that you did while selling your home.

Here is a simple example. You bought your home for $600,000 and using a round figure of 20% it has dropped in value to $480,000. You have lost $120,000...ouch! Not really because if you are moving up in the market what used to be an $800,000 home is now worth $640,000.

If values had remained flat you would be going from a home valued at $600,000 up to a home worth $800,000. A difference of $200,000. In the present buyers market scenario the difference is $480,000 to $640,000 or a spread of $180,000. If you are moving up you saved yourself $20,000.

What if you are moving down? Lets turn the example around. You owned an $800,000 home that is now worth $640,000. It is too large for your needs and has become expensive to heat, maintain and pay taxes on. You desire something more manageable. Well guess what the house that you planned on buying three years ago for $600,000 is now only going to cost you $480,000. So what has happened is you have lost $40,000 in buying power. A 20% loss on 800k = $160,000. A 20% loss on $600,000 = $120,000. $160,000 - $120,000 = $40,000

So moving down isn't ideal but a loss of $40,000 is certainly much different than taking a paper loss of $160,000 especially if it is going to make your payments and cost to maintain the home much more reasonable.

When a client asks my advice this is the kind of information I ask them to look at when considering what is the best move for them. You would run this same kind of analysis if you were going to relocate to another area where the values of homes could be a lot different.

The X factor as of this writing is the historically low interest rates. This is a compelling reason to make a move now before they move up at some point.

If you come to the conclusion that selling your home is the right move there are three very important keys to success you need to pay attention to in a challenging Real Estate market.


Pricing your home properly                                                                                                                 

This is the single most important thing you can do to ensure you achieve your goal in a timely fashion. Your Realtor should be going over in detail the most recent comparable properties that have sold. The sales date becomes extremely important when the market is still in a downward slope. Pay close attention to when the sale took place. A home that sold even a few months ago may not sell for the same amount of money today.

It is always best to use the most recent sales. When none are available a good Real Estate agent should be able to factor in an appropriate price adjustment based upon the difference in time when the comparable property sold.

Be careful to be realistic when you are looking at the data. Sellers are notorious for viewing their homes differently because of emotional attachment. Look at your home through the eyes of a buyer.

The fact that you used heavy duty nails on the deck you built is not going to bring you $5000 more than the neighbors similar home down the Street.


Picking a good Realtor                                                                                                                      


When the market was booming and all you had to do was put a sign in the yard and add the home to MLS, picking a good Realtor was less critical. Not so in today's Real Estate environment where there are far few buyers in the market.

One of the critical components to picking a Realtor should be their ability to create a wide net to attract buyers. Over 85% of all buyers today find their home from an online search. You want an agent that can give you a dominant online presence. Your home should be displayed on all the sites that garner the highest amount of Real Estate traffic.

Some of the better Realtors will be using blogging and video as a means of creating interest. Search engines love blogs because they are not "static". A blog can be updated with fresh content daily if desired. Video not only enhances the presentation of your home but it can usually be found very easily online.

You should be looking for a Realtor that not only has a website but one that can be found in the search engines for terms specific to Real Estate in your market.

A good method of checking on the agents marketing skills is to "Google" their name. There should be pages and pages of results with an agent that knows how to market your home well online. If you don't see much I would really start to question the agents ability to attract the most buyers.

The premise is this: If an agent does not know how to market themselves how could you possibly expect them to do a good job marketing your home?

Marketing of course is very important but you should also look at the agents track record. References, market share, and an agents list price to sale price ratio are all worth consideration. Here are some excellent questions to ask Realtors you are interviewing.

Be careful of the agent who tries to "buy" your listing with an over inflated list price. What you will be stuck with is a Realtor with poor skills and a home that doesn't have a prayer of selling. This is why the agents list price to sale price ratio becomes important. It should also be pointed out that the ratio should be from the original list price.


Make your home presentable


Is staging your home with a staging company a must? I do not believe it is. Does it help you sell your home in a timely fashion? Absolutely! At the very minimum you should make sure your home is presentable. It should be neat and tidy. Having a clean and organized home that is visually appealing is important. There should be no ungodly smells present.

Getting rid of clutter and organizing closets are usually activities that will help generate a sale. Curb appeal is also important. Your yard and landscaping should be well maintained. Walk ways should be kept clear and your entry way should be spotless. 1st impressions go a long way in selling a home.

These are the basics. A professional staging company can really make your home stand out in a good way.


In the article top ten mistakes to avoid when selling your Massachusetts home there are seven other pitfalls to watch out for as well. Also never settle for Realtors that like to push Real Estate gimmicks like saying they will sell your home in 70 days or buy it themselves. See sold in 70 days.


The above information on selling your home in a buyers market was provided by BillRE/MAX Executive Realty Hopkinton Gassett, the team leader for the #4 RE/MAX Team in Massachusetts in 2007. Bill can be reached via email at or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 22+ Years. Bill's office is conveniently located in the center of Hopkinton MA at 77 Main Street.

I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise! I would welcome the opportunity to earn your business.

For Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate and homes see Metrowest Mass Real Estate. Want to have MLS access to beat other buyers to your dream home? Sign up with no obligation at my MLS Property Finder Site.

I service the following towns in Metrowest Massachusetts: Hopkinton, Milford, Upton, Southboro, Westboro, Ashland, Holliston, Mendon, Hopedale, Medway, Grafton, Northbridge, Uxbridge, Franklin, Douglas, and Framingham MA.

Click here to view Bill Gassett's Real Estate profile.




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Building lasting relationships by helping people move in and out of Metrowest Massachusetts for the last 22 years.

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Bill Gassett is a thirty-two year veteran to the real estate industry. He enjoys providing helpful information to buyers, sellers and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester, RESAAS, Credit Sesame and others.


Re-Blogged 5 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Karen Hurst 12/08/2008 12:41 AM
  2. Liz Toles 12/08/2008 09:10 AM
  3. Marlene Pellegrini 12/08/2008 11:06 AM
  4. Tiffany White 12/08/2008 02:59 PM
  5. Closed Xlosed 12/10/2008 05:03 AM
  6. Jeannie Kontis 12/27/2008 01:32 PM
  7. Gail Szeluga & JoAnna Siminerio 01/13/2009 02:57 PM
  8. Maggie McFarland 05/14/2009 02:33 AM
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Gena Riede
Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792 - Sacramento, CA
Real Estate Broker - Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699

Bill, superbly done. I think you covered a seller selling in a down market to a "T." This should be read by every seller. One of the things sellers need to remember, is that even though they are selling for less, they are also buying for less.

Dec 11, 2008 01:39 AM #71
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Patricia & Gena - Thanks for the compliments on my article. People need to realize that selling and buying in this climate at the same time is no problem. The fact that interest rates have just hit historical lows should be enough to convince those that are thinking about moving up to a larger home.

Dec 11, 2008 03:29 AM #72
John Prescott
Century 21 Commonwealth Wellesley - South Natick, MA
Top Real Estate Agent: Wellesley,Needham,Natick,Metrowest


Painting a picture of today's real estate market couldn't be done better!

Do you sometimes feel that you keep saying this over and over, and yet the message doesn't seem to get through?

I'd like to see more media coverage, showing the real estate picture for what it really is; not just drumming on the theme of all is doom and gloom.

Yes, things have changed; but in many instances it's a wash.

The more we all accurately depict the total picture, we can hope that consumers will be more educated with the facts, thereby making good real estate choices.

I think it's terribly important that we all continue to reinforce this message; and visuals certainly help when presentling this kind of analysis.

You always do a terrific job setting the pace!


John Prescott

- BostonKayakGuy

Dec 11, 2008 08:11 AM #73
Morgan Bellweather

I had significant trouble selling my home because of a stain! Have you ever heard of this? I just couldn't sell it until a guest came though my home and recommended this product called GET SERiOUS that she bought at petsmart. The stuff took out this stain that no other products could right before my eyes in a matter of minutes (2 to be exact). I just cant say enough good things about it! also my home too was a short sale!

Dec 11, 2008 09:08 AM #74
Edward moloney
Edward Moloney Loan Officer GMH Mortgage Services - Holliston, MA
Loan Officer Providing 5 STAR SERVICE


Great posting. Now my question is how do you use this information and approach to benefit your buyer clients

Dec 11, 2008 11:00 AM #75
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

John - Thanks for the compliments on selling your home in a buyers market. There are a lot of folks that start to get it once it is explained to them. This really is a great time to move up with interest rates so low. How are things over in Wellesley?

Morgan - Congrats on selling your home via the short sale route. I am sure you are relieved to put it past you.

Ed - Just as I wrote in my post....I educate my clients and explain how it can benefit them like in the example I mentioned.

Dec 11, 2008 11:59 AM #76
Jackie Peraza
Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC - Framingham, MA
Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts

Fabulous, informative real estate blogging, Bill.  I agree with you re: the necessity of staging, it isn't necessary for every property and decluttering does go a very long way.  I also believe there are some properties that staging gives a distinct competitive advantage to.  The trick is hiring an agent/Realtor(r) that knows their market well enough to know when to say "when".


Dec 13, 2008 08:06 AM #77
Dennis Blackmore
Creed Realty - Virginia Beach, VA

Bill, super article as well, especially for move up buyers

Dec 16, 2008 10:36 PM #78
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate


Great advice on selling a home in today's market.

Dec 16, 2008 11:14 PM #79
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Jackie - I would agree with you 100%. I have certainly seen quite a few homes in my time as a Realtor that could have benefitted greatly by a proper staging.

Dennis & Dorie - Thanks for the compliments on selling in a buyer's market.

Dec 16, 2008 11:20 PM #80
Eileen Begley
Coldwell Banker, DelMonte - Carmel, CA
Monterey Real Estate

Sheesh, Bill, what alot of info packed into one blog! You write wall and include alot of good content!

Dec 20, 2008 05:34 AM #81
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Eileen thanks for the compliment about selling your home in a buyer's market..much appreciated!

Dec 20, 2008 05:57 AM #82
Jeff R. Geoghan
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Lancaster, PA
REALTOR, Marketing Manager

Bill, a well done article!  I thought I would link to my "Selling Your Home in a Buyer's Market" article which you've read.  I especially appreciate point #1 on the notepad image - hire an internet-savvy realtor.  Even with all the momentum towards a total online marketplace most agents still aren't jumping with both feet.  But, as I'm sure Lenn would say, great! 

Dec 24, 2008 01:37 AM #83
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Jeff the value of having a dominate internet presence goes without saying. There are plenty of Realtors that don't have a clue how to market online. I don't mind that at all for obvious reasons.

Dec 24, 2008 08:34 AM #84
Lucia Dee Gagnon
Keller Williams Suburban Realty - Verona, NJ

thanks Bill for the well written article.  I found this on google and i hope sellers out there are reading it too!

Dec 28, 2008 04:05 PM #85
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Lucia thanks for the compliments on selling your home in a buyers market. There are quite a few who hold off selling their home because they don't really understand the whole picture. If you are selling and buying in the same market there is not as much difference as some would assume.

Dec 28, 2008 11:05 PM #86
Peggy Gist

Selling and then buyer can be a real problem when the seller used an 80/20 loan.  Yep, not enough to move forward without dollars in the bank. When they do these "crazy" things they aren't thinking that their situation could change at the drop of a hat.  Nice info and great graphics. Envy you for being able to do it so well.

Jan 08, 2009 11:02 AM #87
Sylvie Zolezzi

Hi  Bill,  This is by far the best post I have read.  You are very smart and articulate and I love the way you write.  Will very likely reblog.

Best, Sylvie

Mar 13, 2009 02:37 PM #88
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Peggy - Yes there are times when the seller just doesn't have the cash to do anything. Big problem when there is negative equity.

Sylvie - Thanks that is quite a compliment! I am glad you enjoyed the article.

Mar 14, 2009 12:21 AM #89
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Jun 03, 2012 12:21 AM #90
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