Housing expert: Here's what home buyers and sellers need to know

As home prices soar, sellers are in the driver’s seat.

Last week, S&P’s Corelogic Case-Shiller’s national home price index showed home prices jumped 19.8% in February from the year before, up from a 19.1% annual increase in January — marking the third highest jump in 35 years.

Still, that doesn't mean sellers can forgo details.

“If you are a seller and you want to move quickly, it's really important that you're pricing your property right — be realistic about that price point,” Dana Bull, Massachusetts Real Estate Advisor, recently told Yahoo Finance Live (video above). “One of the mistakes I see sellers make is they're kind of skimping on the basics — you still want to do your home prep to put your best foot forward.”

It’s a great time for sellers with unique or antique homes to put their homes on the market. Even homes with deferred maintenance, “now is still a great time to sell because of limited inventory,” Bull said.

While housing inventory was up 11.8% to 950,000 units at the end of March versus February, it's still down 9.5% from 1.05 million one year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors. Unsold inventory sits at a two-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 1.7 months in February and down from 2.1 months in March 2021.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 29: A for sale sign is posted in front of a home that is listed for over $1 million on April 29, 2022 in San Francisco, California. According to a list compiled by the Inspection Support Network, California's San Francisco Bay Area tops the U.S. in million-dollar home sales with 61 percent of homes in the San Jose area and 49 percent of homes in San Francisco/Oakland/Berkeley selling over $1 million. Four of the top five cities on the list are in California and more than one out of five homes are selling for more than $1 million in the state. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Credit: Getty Images

New construction is mainly high-end luxury homes that aren't in the price range for millennials that make up 43% of homebuyers. The lack of inventory is propelling the increase in home prices making condos and townhomes attractive.

Although there are cash offers, cash offers aren’t always winning bidding wars.

“I am seeing people getting very aggressive around price and terms — a lot of waived finance contingencies and home inspections,” Bull said.

The key to winning a home bid is buyers playing the numbers game — bid often on properties you like. Be consistent and don’t let fatigue from multiple offers dissuade your home search.

“Buyers that are having the most success are those that are able to be flexible — the property type or expanding their geographical reach and targeting a wider net in terms of neighborhoods,” Bull said.

Ronda is a personal finance senior reporter for Yahoo Money and attorney with experience in law, insurance, education, and government. Follow her on Twitter @writesronda

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