Markets

3 Tips for Selling a Home in 2021

One hand holding keys above another hand in front of a new house.

Image source: Getty Images

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.

A historic opportunity to potentially save thousands on your mortgage

Chances are, interest rates won't stay put at multi-decade lows for much longer. That's why taking action today is crucial, whether you're wanting to refinance and cut your mortgage payment or you're ready to pull the trigger on a new home purchase.

Our expert recommends this company to find a low rate - and in fact he used them himself to refi (twice!). Click here to learn more and see your rate. While it doesn't influence our opinions of products, we do receive compensation from partners whose offers appear here. We're on your side, always. See our full advertiser disclosure here.

The Motley Fool owns and recommends MasterCard and Visa, and recommends American Express. We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Latest Markets Videos

    The Motley Fool

    Founded in 1993 in Alexandria, VA., by brothers David and Tom Gardner, The Motley Fool is a multimedia financial-services company dedicated to building the world's greatest investment community. Reaching millions of people each month through its website, books, newspaper column, radio show, television appearances, and subscription newsletter services, The Motley Fool champions shareholder values and advocates tirelessly for the individual investor. The company's name was taken from Shakespeare, whose wise fools both instructed and amused, and could speak the truth to the king -- without getting their heads lopped off.

    Learn More