Top 10 Ways to Beat the Sluggish Housing Market

Don't let the slow market get you down. Whether you're a home seller looking for offers or a homebuyer facing stricter loan requirements, rev up your real estate potential with these helpful tips.

For Sellers

1. Give your house a makeover that adds value and keeps it up with the Joneses'. That doesn't mean you should run out and install Italian marble. But if hardwood floors are the norm in your neighborhood, replace the carpet. 

2. Use the secrets of staging experts, or hire one. Staging can be as easy as a fresh coat of paint, new cabinet hardware and strategically placed lighting. Think of it as a creative, inexpensive facelift for your home.

3. Find out what's wrong with the house and get it fixed. Don't wait until that serious buyer finds faulty wiring or a termite problem and then pulls the plug on the deal. Be proactive. Get an inspection before hitting the market.

4. Come up with a comprehensive home-selling strategy. Don't put an ad on Craigslist, stick a sign in the ground and call it a day. Whether you're going FSBO or using an agent, selling your home in a buyer's market requires a well thought-out plan with accurate pricing, targeted improvements and focused marketing and exposure.

5. Hire an aggressive, well-connected real estate agent. Find an experienced agent with a proven track record who knows how to pound the pavement. In this market, name recognition is important, so find the go-to person for buyers and their agents in your community.

6. Help a buyer buy it. Offer incentives that put money in the buyer's pocket, such as buying down the interest rate, absorbing more of the closing costs or offering seller financing. 

7. Consider renting or offering a lease option. Minimize the impact of two mortgages by renting your house out until you find a buyer. Or offer a lease option to a motivated buyer who doesn't have enough cash to buy a home outright.

8. Make the house move-in ready. Throw in the furniture, flat-screen TV, washer/dryer, appliances, backyard jacuzzi AND the kitchen sink. The less money a buyer will have to shell out to furnish the house, the higher the perceived value.

For Buyers:

9. Use calculators and tools to evaluate your potential purchase. Be careful not to get caught up in the hype of a buyer's market. Make calculated decisions by determining your potential IRR (internal rate of return) on a property. 

10. Evaluate and boost your financial profile. If you're having trouble finding favorable terms or interest rates on a mortgage, make yourself more appealing to lenders by boosting your credit score. 

Keep Reading

Next Up

Top 10 Ways to Cut Moving Costs

If you're moving into a new home, your pockets probably feel pretty empty right now. You've just paid a down payment, closing costs and broker fees, so the last thing you want is an expensive move. Lucky for you, we've got tips to help you pack up and ship out on a budget.

Top 10 Time-Saving Tips for Your Move

Use these pointers to make your next move fast, efficient and hassle-free.

Top 10 Ways to Add Architectural Details to Your Home

Boost your home's style and value with these easy updates.

7 Surefire Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

You've already heard the bad news. The housing crisis has tightened up credit markets, and it's harder to qualify for a mortgage loan. Credit scoring has always been an important part of the loan approval process, but suddenly it bears more weight than ever.

Guide to Mortgage Assumptions

Is a mortgage assumption a smart choice for you? Here, learn everything you need to know.

Get Web Savvy to Sell Your Home

Almost 80 percent of home searches start on the internet, so why not finish them there too? In lieu of the traditional method of selling through a real estate agent, some home sellers are turning to the Web to sell their homes.

A Buyer's Guide to Open House Etiquette

Master these dos and don'ts of house hunting.

Guide to Buying a Second Home or Vacation Home

Follow these five steps to guide you through the process of buying a second home.

Anti-Checklist: What Not to Do While House Hunting

Searching for a house to buy can be daunting, and most of the homes you see won't be what you're looking for. Get through it efficiently and painlessly by avoiding these common house hunting mistakes.

On TV

Fixer Upper

7am | 6c

Fixer Upper

8am | 7c

Fixer Upper

9am | 8c

Fixer Upper

10am | 9c

Fixer Upper

11am | 10c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

House Hunters

1pm | 12c

House Hunters

1:30pm | 12:30c

House Hunters

2:30pm | 1:30c

House Hunters

3:30pm | 2:30c

House Hunters

4:30pm | 3:30c

House Hunters

5:30pm | 4:30c

House Hunters

6:30pm | 5:30c

House Hunters

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Lakefront Bargain Hunt

8pm | 7c

Beach Hunters

9:30pm | 8:30c

Mexico Life

10pm | 9c

Mexico Life

10:30pm | 9:30c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

House Hunters

11:30pm | 10:30c

Beach Hunters

12am | 11c

Beach Hunters

12:30am | 11:30c

Mexico Life

1am | 12c

Mexico Life

1:30am | 12:30c

House Hunters

2:30am | 1:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.