Sellers express more optimism, fewer concerns in recent survey

People who are in the market to sell their home are usually going into the process with no concerns, according to a recent survey by the real estate company Redfin.

In its Home Seller Sentiment Survey for the second quarter of 2017, a total of 179 of the 896 respondents said their home is currently listed for sale or that they plan to sell their home within a year. When this group was asked to name their top three concerns regarding a home sale, one in four said they had no concerns at all, making it the most popular response.

While the survey has a small sample size, Redfin says it shows a marked improvement from the first quarter of the year. In that survey, only 16 percent of sellers said they had no concerns, making it the eighth most popular response. Sellers in the first quarter were most likely to be concerned that buyers would be discouraged by rising mortgage rates or general economic conditions.

Among the sellers who did have concerns in the second quarter, rising rates continued to be the top worry. Other common concerns included the fear that prices would fall before they could sell, that the appraisal would come in too low, and that they might not be able to find a home to buy while selling their own property.

"Despite strong sentiment among current home sellers, the numbers show prospective sellers have been very slow to list their homes," said Nela Richardson, chief economist at Redfin. "New listings dropped 2.3 percent in the first three months of the year compared to the same period last year. Would-be sellers are likely waiting for prices to peak; they're trying to time the market to fetch the largest possible gain. Whether the confidence of the current cohort of sellers translates into more new listings in the coming months is the number one question that determines whether 2017 will be a good year or a great year."

The survey found that sellers were also more confident about their ability to sell their home as well as their position in the market. A total of 60.6 percent said they think sellers have more power than buyers, up from 48.7 percent in the first quarter. Only 14.9 percent said buyers had more power than sellers, down from 35.6 percent in the previous quarter. A total of 24.1 percent of sellers said they thought buyers and sellers have equal power in the market.

The majority of sellers—50.9 percent—said they plan to price their home in the middle range based on comparable sales in their neighborhood. However, this share was down from 54.3 percent in the first quarter.

Thirty-four percent said they plan to price high, up from 29 percent in the first quarter. A total of 21.1 percent said they would do so because they believe negotiation is inevitable. Another 8.2 percent said they would be willing to wait until the market supports their higher price if necessary, while 4.7 percent said they needed to price high in order to pay off their mortgage.

Only 8.2 percent of sellers said they plan to set a low price on their home, relatively unchanged from the first quarter. A total of 6.4 percent said they hoped to create a bidding war to get the best price, while 1.8 percent said they wanted to ensure that the home would sell.

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