Marketing studies show that most people buying or selling residential real estate start looking on the internet for a year before they act. (http://bit.ly/2g1Rf82) Seriously? A year? What will you learn in the course of that year? While you're looking, inflation may lower the value of your dollars a little, while the price of a home rises (6% last year; maybe 1% in the year to come), and the cost of borrowing money, the interest rate, is going up. It looks like inventory will increase, but so will the number of buyers looking, even while some are pushed out.
Rising costs do push buyers out of the market. For the buyers that remain, it means some competitors may be gone. At the same time, other buyers come into the market, so the competition for a given home is unlikely to go down much if at all. Meanwhile, depending on your home, a slowdown in the rise of prices, a rise in interest rates combine to make for a less certain market. As always, the time to sell is driven by the need to sell. Sellers are usually buyers as well, so a balanced market is on the one hand probably best, but on the other hand a rarity these days.
In any case, as in many strategic choices, decisive action is best; delay is unwise and usually costly.
So what to do?
First: Look where there's real time information. That is to say at a site directly connected to the multiple listing service (MLS) with frequent updates, say every hour or perhaps every fifteen minutes. That means not Zillow or Trulia, or other sites that get their information from information brokers. Their information is always a little old and often just wrong. You might also want a site that gives you the opportunity to get in direct touch, whether by phone, email or text, with a local expert. My website is www.devallon.realtor Check it out. It's updated steadily. You can get not only MLS updates, but market updates, blog posts, etc.
Second: Visit Open Houses. If you see a home on my website that in any way interests you, check out the Open House. You'll get a sense of the correspondence between listing post and reality. That "charming" house may be small, cramped and old-fashioned. That "pristine" 1932 house may actually be exactly as it was in 1932. In short order, you'll learn the code and you'll quickly get an idea of what you get for your money in a given town.
Third: Think about how to pick an agent. Most people like the last agent they used. But most people have no idea how to contact their former agent. So they go to an Open House and pick the agent running it because...... well, they like the agent; there seem to be a reasonable number of people attending and so forth. But running an Open House is not much of an indicator of quality. An agent marketing your home needs marketing skills! Does the agent have any marketing training or experience beyond getting people to an Open House? The key to marketing a home is exposure to the market and exposure to other agents. What is your agent's plan for exposure to both? When an offer or offers come forth, your agent needs to evaluate them with you and rank them not only by price, but by the likelihood of (1) the offer being renegotiated, say, after an inspection, (2) of the buyer having the cash or getting a loan to actually pay for the property, and (3) of the offer making it to closing at all.
Fourth: You need a negotiator. From the presentation of the property to the beginnings of an offer, to an actual offer, to getting the best offer possible, to getting through any inspection, the appraisal and right through the closing, negotiations are taking place every step of the way. I've renegotiated price at the closing! You need someone who knows what they're doing. Look for some kind of negotiation designation, like the Certified Negotiation Expert. Look for membership in the Real Estate Negotiation Institute and maybe some kind of association with the Harvard Program on Negotiation (http://bit.ly/2EDj7wR). Most agents have no training in negotiation beyond OJT – On the Job Training.
Fifth: You need an agent with integrity who will behave ethically. You've got to be able to trust your agent. A lot of times, agents can mislead or take questionable short cuts just because they don't know any better. That's one reason expertise matters. Larger brokerages that offer serious training tend to do better than smaller ones with only whatever training the agent is willing and able to pay for from the local Realtor(r) association or from some for-profit training outfit. Frankly, a Massachusetts license means little in terms of knowledgeabily, let alone skill. I first got my license years ago in Virginia. I attended two semesters of Northern Virginia Community College, taking a variety of real estate courses to prepare for the exam in that state. When I moved to Massachusetts, I took a three day, weekend course to prepare for the agent's exam here. A few years later, I took the broker's exam. I also am a Graduate of the Realtor Institute, a fairly in-depth course of study provided by the Realtor Association. I will also mention that, year after year, my parent company, Realogy, is named one of the most ethical companies in the United States (http://bit.ly/2sqSZzB)
So, access to information and a knowledgeable, trustworthy, skilled agent working on your behalf. That's what you need. You don't really need 12 months of floundering around the internet Seriously.
www.devallon.realtor firstname.lastname@example.org 781-910-4105 www.devallon.realtor/about/