Buying or Selling in Today’s Market
By Elle Smith, J&B Real Estate, Inc. Realtor
It’s no secret that the real estate market in our area has been in a strong sellers’ market. And, it’s no secret that Frederick County is a desirable area. I’ve been blessed to call this area home my entire life, and I would not want to live anywhere else. So, I can understand why our area is so popular. Whether buying or selling a home, it’s never too early to start preparing.
During the holiday season, the market tends to slow down. This year is no exception. While the market is still healthy, we have seen a slowdown in activity. This makes it the ideal time to prepare to sell. If you have been considering selling, take this time to get your home ready for the spring selling season.
When I go on listing appointments, the number one question I get asked is “What do we need to do to prepare to sell our home?” The biggest thing you can do is declutter. The less clutter, the more spacious a home will feel. This may involve boxing things and putting them in storage. Make sure all appliances and major systems are in good operating condition. Touch up paint and drywall—neutral colors are always an excellent choice. Enhance the curb appeal: keep grass mowed, leaves raked, snow shoveled, and make a welcoming entrance. Remove or minimize personal items and photographs. Finally, clean your home top to bottom. Try to view your home through the eyes of a potential buyer. Think about what would make it appeal to you if you were seeing it for the first time. Updated bathrooms and kitchens will get more interest from potential buyers. And, with the increase in working from home and virtual school, home office areas are increasingly important. Outdoor living spaces—patios, decks, sunrooms—are also a big draw for potential buyers.
Selling your home during the holiday season can be challenging, but do not let it deter you from listing now. There are advantages to selling your home this time of year. Traditionally, there are less homes on the market, and therefore, less competition. Some buyers want or need to buy a home before the end of the year for job reasons. Even if you are waiting for spring to put your home on the market, it is never too early to start preparing your home for sale.
Buyers, don’t let the term “sellers’ market” scare you if you have been wanting to buy a home. With interest rates at record lows and rental prices at record highs, this is a good time to buy a home.
Depending on the property, you could pay a monthly mortgage payment that is less than a monthly rental payment. And, with the lack of rental properties in our area, buying a home is a realistic option.
When writing an offer on a home in this market, you want to be a competitive buyer. So, always be pre-approved with a mortgage lender before beginning your home search. A pre-approval will tell you how much house you can afford and will give you a summary of cash you would need at settlement. Meeting with a real estate agent is also one of the first things you should do. Maryland encourages all parties to have representation, so having an agent represent you as a buyer is in your best interest.
A buyer’s agent will meet with you to discuss your needs and wants. They can create a search for you that will alert you to “coming soon” and “active” properties on the market. They will represent your best interests in the home-buying process. Looking online is great, but sometimes the home you love may be under contract before you see it online. A buyer’s agent can send you alerts the minute a property hits the market.
Buying or selling a home can be an exciting, yet overwhelming, step. Having a professional there to help you along the way can make it less stressful.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year.