Home Prices on the Rise

Kaushik Mukerjee and Preeti Vasishtha faced stiff competition when they set out to buy a home last spring. The couple, who live in Northern Virginia and have an 8-year-old son, were looking for a home in a good school district, but they lost out to other bidders on two houses before their offer on a townhouse stuck. “In one case we competed against 10 other offers, and the home sold for $20,000 above list price,” Mukerjee says. Ultimately, the couple paid $502,000—slightly above list price—for a 2,000-square-foot, three-bedroom townhouse in Burke, Va.

Kody Henderson, a 26-year-old first-time home buyer, also grappled with a hyper­active market when he looked for a home in the Seattle area. He struck out on three before he snagged a three-bedroom single-family house for $465,000 in Burien, Wash., last November. “I kept getting beat by cash offers that were usually above list price,” says Henderson. “It was frustrating.”

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How to Sell a House: 4 New Rules That Can Make or Break a Sale

These days, knowing how to sell a Selling_keyshouse isn’t as simple as sticking a “For Sale” sign on your lawn. Times have changed—and the good news is the market is largely tilting in your favor.

“It’s undeniably a seller’s market,” says Linda Sanderfoot, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Neenah, WI. In other words, buyers are demanding homes, but there isn’t much inventory on the market nationally. Plus, half of home buyers are worried about rising interest rates and looking to lock into a home soon. As a result, “there is pressure on buyers to submit offers quickly, and to offer full or even above list price,” says Peggy Yee, supervising broker at Frankly Realtors in Vienna, VA.

All of this puts sellers squarely in the driver’s seat—which can be a lot of pressure if your GPS is broken and you don’t know how to navigate this new world. Consider this your crash course in getting up to speed.