Seller’s Market Spells Good News for Homeowners Looking to Sell

Improving ‘curb appeal,’ landscaping can boost home sale odds
Home for sale

For homeowners thinking about selling their homes, the time to take action may be now, as more than half of real estate agents polled in a new survey describe their local communities as “seller’s markets.”

Homelight, a real estate platform that matches agents with consumers, surveyed more than 400 U.S. real estate agents whom they identified as “top-performing.” Of those agents surveyed, 63% described the area they worked in as a “seller’s market.” That percentage was eight points higher than during the first quarter of this year, when real estate agents were last surveyed on the subject.

The survey also identified reasons behind the sellers’ current advantage, with 50% of the respondents saying housing inventory is lower than anticipated. This, of course, means buyers may have a more challenging time finding a house and sellers may be able to get a better price for their houses. Likewise, 56% of agents said low interest rates at this time have led to an increased demand from buyers in their markets.

While market conditions may be ripe for homeowners itching to sell, there are additional steps they can take to improve their chances even more, the study found.

An overwhelming 94% of agents said good curb appeal — the level of attractiveness a house has from the outside — can add value to a house when it is sold, with 76% saying improving curb appeal is the most important thing a homeowner can do to increase the likelihood of a sale. And 70% of agents surveyed said homeowners can likely do an adequate job of raising curb appeal by spending less than $1,000.

Specifically, hiring a landscaper may pay off, as more than 75% of agents said well-landscaped houses sold for more money. In fact, more than half said a well-landscape home is likely to sell for 1% to 5% more than a house with no landscaping.

Basic landscaping projects were likely to give homeowners the biggest bang for their buck. Survey respondents said having basic lawn care service done and adding fresh mulch could add, on average, more than $2,000 to the value of the house when it’s sold. However, respondents said major projects such as new patios might not bring in much more money at resale than what the homeowner spent to get the job done.

The survey’s findings suggest that homeowners looking to sell might gain an advantage if they act in the next couple of months, as 68% of agents said it is easier to sell a house in the summer than in the fall. That said, however, there are many factors that can affect the best time to sell.

If you’re thinking about selling your home, chances are you want to get as much money for it as you can. There are steps you can take to improve your odds of getting a better price. For example, if you do renovate, pick those improvements that are mostly likely to increase the value of your home.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.

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