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Buyer’s Market vs. Seller’s Market: What’s the Difference?

Woman realtor showing home to happy couple holding hands

In the world of real estate, the phrases ‘buyer’s market’ and ‘seller’s market’ can either excite you or make you apprehensive. But what exactly do they mean to you as a homebuyer or seller? This guide could help.

happy family in front of a home for sale

Buyer’s Market

Here are top characteristics of a buyer’s market: 

  • High inventory, meaning more homes for sale than buyers actively shopping.
  • Houses may sit on the market for a longer period of time before receiving an offer.
  • A seller may need to work harder to make their house enticing – buyers may be more likely to expect a home to be in excellent condition or priced at a discount.
  • Sellers may be more inclined to give in to buyer requests, such as paying for a new roof or helping with closing costs.
  • Houses tend to sell for less than the asking price.

Bottom line: Buyers have an advantage over sellers in price negotiations.

happy couple in kitchen speaking to a friendly female realtor

Seller’s Market 

Hallmarks of a seller’s market include:

  • Low inventory, meaning more buyers shopping than properties available.
  • Houses tend to spend a short time on the market.
  • Buyers compete with each other, and may be more likely to put an offer on a home sight unseen or needing renovations.
  • A seller may receive multiple offers and can be selective, such as choosing a cash buyer over others.
  • Houses can sell for more than their list prices.

Bottom line: Sellers have an advantage over buyers in price negotiations.

Understanding Your Market

It’s important to understand that the national housing market can differ from the local market where you are buying and/or selling, so you’ll want to be familiar with the housing supply in your current and/or new area as well as the property values, local economy, and real estate laws. The advice of a real estate professional can be beneficial, but you may also want to do your own research so you can feel confident and ready to shop for a new home or put your current home on the market.

If your local market is more challenging than expected, it doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to have trouble selling or buying a home, you may just need to be more careful (or quick) when making decisions or have greater flexibility when it comes to price. Life circumstances, such as a job transfer or family changes, means it’s not always possible that your moving plans can be during the “right” time to buy or sell. Keeping your budget and family needs in mind can help you make decisions that are fair, comfortable, and right for you.

Please note, membership is required to accept a DCU mortgage.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as legal, financial, investment or tax advice or indicate that a specific DCU product or service is right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a financial professional.