3 Tips for Selling a Home in 2021

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Now's a great time to sell a home. Here's how to capitalize on this prime opportunity.

There's a reason buyers are clamoring for homes today. Mortgage rates are sitting at historic lows, so many people want to lock in a home loan now, before rates climb. As a seller, that gives you a prime opportunity to command a higher asking price than what you'd normally get for your property.

Still, it's important to be strategic when listing your home this year. Here are a few tips for navigating the process and coming out ahead.

1. Fix glaring issues before you list

Normally, sellers are advised to invest in cosmetic fixes and other repairs before putting their homes on the market, but given that there's such limited housing inventory available today, you don't need to go overboard to attract buyers. In other words, you can leave mildly worn carpet in place -- no need to rip it out to impress buyers with plush flooring instead.

At the same time, though, you should fix obvious issues with your home that could send buyers running. If you have a roof with dangling shingles, for example, that's something to address prior to putting your home on the market. The same holds true for removing that dead tree in your front yard that's looming over your house just waiting to fall.

Similarly, be sure to address issues that aren't as obvious at first sight. If your home's electrical isn't up to code, that's something a home inspector is apt to discover. Rather than wait for that to happen and risk a deal falling through, make that fix ahead of time.

2. List early -- before more homes hit the market

The fact that there are so few homes available on the market right now could really work to your benefit as a seller. But as the year progresses, you may find that there's more competition.

First, sellers are more likely to list their homes during the warm weather months, when it's easier to show off landscaping and outdoor features. Second, as coronavirus vaccines are rolled out to the general public, more sellers may get comfortable with the idea of welcoming prospective buyers into their homes. If you want to retain your edge, get your home on the market as early in the year as possible. You're better off being one of seven available homes in your neighborhood rather than one of 37.

3. Know how to vet your buyers

It's a seller's nightmare -- you accept an offer on your home only to have your buyer's mortgage fall through. That sort of thing happens all the time, though, so it's best to take steps to avoid it. One way to do so is to only accept an offer from a buyer who's already pre-approved for a home loan. Pre-approval doesn't guarantee that a mortgage will close without issue, but it does mean that a lender has reviewed an applicant's finances and determined they're eligible to borrow a certain amount of money.

As a home seller, you definitely have the upper hand in today's housing market. If you want to walk away with the highest offer, address major issues with your property ahead of time and list your home before inventory increases. At the same time, look to buyers with mortgage pre-approval. Doing these things could result in a smooth closing and a very lucrative sale -- with proceeds that could serve you well for years to come.

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