The calendar has turned the page and you’re eager to fulfill your New Year’s resolution: to sell your home for the most money possible in 2019. But that begs the question: Will it be harder or easier to sell a home this year? And what steps need to be taken to ensure a faster sale and higher sales price?
The good news is that now’s a great time to consider listing, experts say.
“Listing inventory is still low throughout much of the country,” says J.W. Roeder, a Realtor with The Rob Ellerman Team at ReeceNichols in Kansas City. “There’s an amount of uncertainty in the market right now, so homeowners may benefit from listing sooner rather than later while inventory remains low in the winter.”
While there may be fewer buyers searching for homes right now, those that are on the hunt tend to be more motivated and eager, which means you’ll likely lure only more serious candidates.
“They say the early bird gets the worm. This is a great time to list because there’s less competition from other sellers,” Bryne A. Durent, Realtor with Duval Homes Real Estate in Jacksonville, Fla., notes.
Plus, the Federal Reserve has announced that it plans to continue to raise interest rates in 2019, which could lead to higher mortgage rates. Listing now before rates go any higher, which could dissuade some prospective buyers, is a good plan.
To increase your odds of selling sooner and commanding a higher sales price, try these tips:
- Choose the right real estate agent, and price your home right.
- “Make sure you interview multiple agents. Pick someone you like and can trust and who has great experience. This person will help you choose the correct listing price,” says John Myers, owner/broker of Albuquerque-based Myers & Myers Real Estate, who adds that setting the right price, right from the start, will prevent your home from sitting on the market too long and turning off buyers.
- Dive into decluttering mode. Sort through your items and décor and remove/pack up anything that makes your home look unorganized or personalized (including family pictures, trinkets, books, etc.).
- “Consider hiring a professional organizer, who can help with this process,” Sandra Smith, a New York City-based real estate agent with R New York, suggests.
- Freshen up your home’s look. Increase curb appeal by tidying up your landscaping and removing leaves, debris and outside clutter. Consult with your agent on appropriate new colors and give key rooms a fresh coat of paint. Stage each room carefully by positioning furniture and accessories in attractive ways, too, and be prepared to replace outdated furniture with new or rented pieces.
- Avoid any unwanted surprises.
“Consider having your home inspected before placing it on the market, which can prevent unexpected issues after you’ve accepted an offer on your home,” Myers recommends.
- Accommodate buyer candidates.
“Allow every showing possible. That sudden 5 o’clock request for a 6:30 p.m. showing can be a pain, but if it’s the right buyer the payoff is more than worth the small nuisance,” Roeder says.
Additionally, “plan on keeping things cleaner and neater than normal in case buyers want to tour your property at a moment’s notice,” John Graff, CEO/broker at Ashby & Graff Real Estate in Los Angeles, says.
- Expect the unexpected.
“Be prepared to make or pay for repairs that the seller may request that are reasonable and backed up by the findings of a qualified inspector,” Graff notes. “Also, you may get lowball offers from buyers, but be willing to negotiate, and don’t let emotions get in the way of getting a deal done.”
Duren echoes that last point. “Buyers will come in and pick your home apart, so expect to hear negative remarks about your beloved home, and don’t take it personally,” Duren says.