Do you have hopes to sell a house fast? Or are you looking for tips for buying a house in the Greenville, SC area? Realtor® Elizabeth Faulkner has you covered with her top 10 tips on engaging in today’s real estate market. Thank you to Elizabeth Faulkner for sponsoring this article!
Its no secret that now is a hectic time in real estate! Record number of buyers are actively searching for a home. Great, right? Well, the issue continues to be the dramatically low number of homes on the market. Which is making the real estate market, to put it bluntly, a challenge. Especially if you’re a buyer!
While the Upstate has always been a relocation hotspot, this seems to have been heightened by the pandemic. Why might you ask? A number of years ago, people typically moved to our area for two reasons: work or retirement. That is still the case today. Retirees love South Carolina! The weather, the access to healthcare, the beaches, the taxes, the Homestead Exemption. Who can blame them! People are also still being relocated to our area for work. What’s new today is that, more than ever, people are working from home and have the option to live wherever they want. And if they are living somewhere with super high taxes or six months of snow, they may find themselves searching for a home elsewhere.
Which is where we come in. As we already know, the Greenville and Spartanburg area is a very attractive “elsewhere.” Our taxes are low, our schools are good, our weather is exceptional. So why not move to the area?!?
On the other hand, there has been a limited amount of inventory on the market. Why is that? Perhaps it started with COVID-19—no one really wanted strangers walking through their home in the uncertain times of 2020. Another thought is that the low interest rates prompted might-have-been sellers, who had been locked inside their homes for months, to refinance and renovate rather than sell. Perhaps people who might have sold their home are not doing so because, let’s be honest, unless they plan to rent for a year or travel the country in an RV, buying a home isn’t easy.
However, the reality for sellers is there has never been a better time to sell a home than RIGHT NOW! Nearly everything hitting the market is seeing multiple offers, offers over list price and waived contingencies.
Are you ready? Let’s discuss my tips and tricks for buying or selling a home in 2023!
Tips for Sellers
Staging is your friend.
In real estate, the pretty house wins! No matter what type of market we are in, the appearance of a house directly impacts the amount of time it takes to sell and the price for which it sells. Home buyers often don’t have imagination when searching for a house. Even if the updates a house needs are simple and inexpensive, they can keep a home from selling for top dollar!
So what’s the answer? Staging! Stagers are magicians! They can place furniture in a room so there is no confusion about what the space should be used for. Not to mention they can make your home look like a model home. And guess what that means to your sales price . . .
Don’t even think about selling your home without an agent.
While, yes, you may be able to sell your house on your own now is NOT the time to try it. Why? There are lots of reasons!
- Do you want to attempt managing the 30 or so showings you’re likely to have when your house hits the market?
- Do you want to juggle the multiple offers on your home?
- Do you understand the difference between a conventional and an FHA loan?
- Do you understand what a contingency on appraisal is and why you may or may not be agreeable?
Your answer to the above questions may be “no,” but your real estate agent understands all of it and wants to simplify the entire process for you. For example: When you receive a dozen or so offers to purchase your home, your agent will put them into a handy spreadsheet with the details of each one, so you understand your options and can select the best offer for your situation. Saving a small amount of money on realty fees is not worth risking the very real possibility that you won’t get the best price and terms possible for your home.
Be sure your agent is using all the tools when marketing your home.
It’s no secret that the Upstate is seeing a tremendous influx of people moving here from other parts of the country. Often times newcomers to the area are buying a home they’ve never set foot in. Why not utilize all the best and most current resources when listing your home? Virtual tours that allow a buyer to “virtually” walk through a home are priceless. These tours allow a buyer to have a clear understanding of the layout and flow of a home.
Another simple, yet often overlooked, tool is a floorplan. Be sure your agent has the floorplan for your home available in the MLS as it will allow a buyer to know right away if the house will suit their needs or not. This will also help cut down on unnecessary showings! What homeowners may not realize is that using online tools will bring more online visibility to a listing, and possibly a higher sales price!
Plan your vacay.
In today’s real estate market, houses are showing a lot when they first go on the market; dozens of showings in a few days. Make it easy on yourself and don’t be home for the chaos. Go to Grandma’s house for a few days, head to the beach or local hotel. Trust me, not being home for several days when your house hits the market will save your sanity!
Prepare for the unexpected and trust your agent.
Some agents say that once a buyer or seller is under contract the work begins! There are approximately 7800 things that have to happen in order to reach the closing table. So chances are, something will go wrong. Your agent and your team are well-versed in how to handle the little hiccups along the way. Follow their guidance and trust that they will guide you along the way!
Tips for Buyers
Be prepared before you hit the ground.
Everyone knows that we are in a fast moving real estate market. You really do not want to fall in love with your dream home before you are ready to submit an offer!
- Get your team in place first. Hire a real estate agent and have the buyer’s agency agreement signed.
- Have a heart-to-heart with your lender about what you qualify for AND what you actually want to spend every month.
- Have your prequal letter in your hand.
Then, hit the streets searching for your home! Believe me, if you do not do these steps first there is a very real chance the house you fall in love with will be under contract before you can get your offer submitted!
Cast as wide a net as possible.
When you begin your home search, have two lists in mind. Your “must-have” list and your “could also work” list. The goal is to have options! Perhaps you’re searching for a 5 bedroom house. Would a 4 bedroom house with a bonus room over the garage work? Maybe you really want an acre of property. Would ¾ of an acre work? Maybe you want to live in Simpsonville. Would Fountain Inn or Mauldin possibly work?
Set your searches appropriately! When your agent is setting your search criteria, be sure to make the search as broad as possible. Missing out on a home you love, that would have worked perfectly for your family, because it was 1.99 acres instead of 2 would really stink.
What’s in the MLS?
Before you go out and physically tour a home, have your agent send you all the documents and resources available in the MLS for the home. Look at the Seller’s Disclosure for the property. If the HVAC or roof is original to a home built in 1985, is that a deal breaker for you? If there is a floorplan available, does the layout of the home function well for your family? A virtual tour where you can “walk” from room to room should definitely be viewed before seeing the home in person. If you could eliminate a home based on something available in the MLS, why spend your time walking through a home that won’t work for your family?
See beyond the UGLY!
When you’re searching for a home, you’ll find a few with neutral paint colors, no photos of the homeowner with their family and no projects to complete. Other times, however, you may encounter a home with orange paint and huge, outdated furniture in every corner. Some buyers can have a hard time looking past the cosmetic updates and seeing the potential in a home! Don’t be that buyer. Try your best to see the space, not the stuff. What would that room look like if it were a neutral color with no outdated furniture? How would it look after you’ve had the home painted and updated to fit your needs? Cosmetic changes are inexpensive but can kill a deal for many buyers. Which means, if you can see past the UGLY you may just get a deal on a house that other buyers turn away from!
Write the cleanest offer possible.
Writing an offer with a contingency to sell another home is the quickest way to NOT get the house of your dreams. Sorry folks, I know this is tough to hear (or read!) but it is the truth. Realistically, not many of us can buy another home while we still own ours. So, what to do?
The answer: do whatever you have to. Selling first and renting while you hunt for your next home may not be ideal but many buyers are doing just that. Another option is selling your home first and renting it back from the new owner while you hunt. Commonly called a leaseback, this route is allowing buyers to have the cash available to buy a home without having to move twice. If you happen to be in a market like ours, tell your potential home buyers a leaseback is what YOU want in the offer they are about to write. South Carolina isn’t the only real estate market on fire right now, so use this to your advantage!
When your agent puts together your offer make it as clean as possible. Skip as many contingencies as possible. While I don’t often recommend buying a home without an inspection, buying a home “as is” is happening a lot right now. (you can still inspect the home!) Skipping the appraisal is becoming more and more common as well, especially as buyers are often paying over the list price for a home. Just be careful you’re not going to end up “stuck” in a home you’ve paid too much for.
Hire a good real estate agent, take his or her advice and, when you find a home you love, make the best offer possible! As I tell my clients, make your best offer and be prepared to walk away knowing you made your very best effort to buy the house. If you still don’t get the home, it won’t be because you didn’t submit the best possible offer.
Even in a fast moving real estate market like the one we are currently seeing, buying or selling a home can still be done. Follow my tips and jump into the real estate market in 2023!