What Homebuyers Need to Know About Today’s Sellers

By Brendon DeSimone

SEATTLE (Zillow) — When markets move in a positive direction, you’ll hear it from real estate agents first. They see busier open houses, quicker sales or even multiple offers. By the time the news finally hits the mainstream media, buyers start to feel the pull to get back in the market.

That’s what we’re seeing in many parts of the country right now. With all signs tilting toward a sellers’ market for the first time in years, it’s helpful for buyers to understand today’s seller. No two sellers are alike, of course. But there’s a certain mindset that many sellers these days share, and it’s a grateful one for many. Understanding that mindset can help buyers more successfully and easily navigate the process of buying a home. The same holds true for sellers. They should understand the buyers that stand before them.

Here are three things homebuyers should know about today’s sellers.

1. Many homeowners are in a negative equity position

According to Zillow’s negative equity report, 28% of homeowners with a mortgage today are underwater. Many sellers have been hoping and wishing for prices to increase just a little bit. Some have outgrown their current home, are forced into an hourlong commute (or longer) each day or simply want to move to a new town or area. But due to negative equity, they’ve been stuck. The emergence of a sellers’ market provides them with a glimmer of hope. They just may be grateful for any offer that will allow them to get out at last.

2. Sellers are often buyers, too

Often, sellers feel the same amount of stress or excitement that buyers feel because they’re somewhere in the buying process, too. Though some sellers will become renters after their sale is complete, many will get back in the homeowner game soon after the sale goes through, sometimes immediately. Sellers, as would-be buyers, want to capitalize on low interest rates and home values. Getting the home sold quickly and at today’s value may be all a seller needs to make a purchase. Though it may be a “sellers’ market,” these sellers usually aren’t greedy. They feel the buyer’s pain and likely want to get out cleanly and quickly so that they too can buy.

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