The new year is finally here, and many homeowners who put off selling last year are ready to make a move in 2021. Reasons for selling vary, but according to a recent survey by the National Association of REALTORS®, the most common reasons sellers cited were the desire to move closer to friends and family; the house was too small, and a change in the family situation. If you plan to put your house on the market this year, there is good news. Despite the pandemic, home sales in San Antonio and the surrounding areas have continued to increase. The November housing trends report from the San Antonio Board of REALTORS®, the most recent available, revealed that more than 3,000 homes were sold that month in San Antonio and surrounding areas. That’s a 27 percent increase over November 2019. The median home price rose 13 percent to $260,900. On average, houses in this area were on the market for 49 days. In November 2019, the average days on market was 60. SABOR will release market statistics for December in a couple of weeks. All of this means it’s a good time to sell a house in San Antonio. SABOR’s new Chairman of the Board, Cher Miculka, believes this trend will continue in 2021. Miculka, who is also a certified real estate instructor, has been in the industry since 1986. She has worn many hats throughout her career, including REALTOR®, broker, property adjuster, loan officer, and home-building operations manager. Miculka shared by email a few tips for home sellers and her thoughts on San Antonio’s housing market.

A: Find a REALTOR®. Most people only buy or sell a home a few times in their lives so, it’s important to work with an expert who does this all the time and can help guide you through the process.

Q: What would you say to someone who asks, “Why do I need to hire a REALTOR® when I can save money and sell my house without one?”

A: It can be tempting, but it often is more costly in the long run to try to do it yourself. Selling can be an emotional process causing you to make mistakes or be more focused on your attachment to the home than to the sale. You may overlook flaws in the home and not see it the way a buyer will. An objective third party takes the emotion and blind spots out of the equation. A transaction also involves finding buyers, negotiating with them, understanding the numerous forms and other paperwork, knowing the market so you price the home properly, and other details that only someone who does this for a living will know how to navigate.

Q: What should people look for when hiring a REALTOR®?

A: First of all, make sure your agent is a REALTOR®. While a real estate agent is anyone who has a professional license to help people buy, sell, or rent housing and real estate, a REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribes to the standards of the association and its Code of Ethics.
You also need to know what is important to you. With such a big, personal transaction, you’ll want to be sure you find the REALTOR® who will best meet your needs and work well with your personality. You may want to consider the hours an agent is available, how important it is to you that the agent has familiarity with your intended area, how experienced they are, and how they will communicate with you.

Q: What would you say is the biggest obstacle people face when trying to sell their home?

A: The biggest obstacle is often the emotion involved in selling your home. Remember it is a business transaction and becomes a house for sale, while a home is where you will live. I always like to tell my clients, “A house is made of walls and beams… a home is built with love and dreams.” To you, it may be the place your kids grew up or other significant family events happened. That can make it hard to see it objectively as a product you are trying to sell. And if a buyer makes an offer you feel does not match your emotional attachment to the property, you could be tempted to reject it and miss a great sales opportunity. This makes it extremely important to work with a REALTOR® who can be objective and keep you focused on the sale and not the emotion. When selling your house, remember it is a business transaction and becomes a house for sale. Home is where you will go to live.

READ ALSO: Key steps in the homebuying process

Q: When it comes to showings and open houses, is COVID-19 still a factor? Are people mainly looking at homes virtually or in person?

A: It’s a mix of both. The great thing with REALTORS® is we’ve been showing homes virtually for years, so it was just a matter of increasing this method during the pandemic. There are certainly people who are ready and willing to go back to in-person tours while observing safety guidelines, of course. And for those who prefer to stay virtual, we are using those means to help them as well, whether Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook Live, or whatever they are comfortable with.

Q: What are your thoughts on the real estate market for San Antonio in 2021?

A: The 2020 housing market has actually outpaced the 2019 market, despite the challenges of the pandemic, and I think this shows that people have not been deterred from their buying and selling goals. I think this will continue into 2021, and we’ll keep seeing increases in sales.


☐ Find a REALTOR®                                                                                                
 A  REALTOR® will guide you through the entire selling process. As the listing agent, he or she will help you determine the best listing price, negotiate offers, explain the paperwork, market the home and more. .

☐ Check the curb appeal
Before potential buyers see the inside, they will critique the outside so make sure your house has great curb appeal. Things you can do to make the exterior more attractive include sprucing up the landscaping, adding fresh mulch and plants, power washing and painting.

☐ Repair, patch and paint
If you need a handyman, most REALTORS® can provide a list of professionals they have worked with previously. They also can offer advice on what or if upgrades are worth making.

☐ Clean, declutter and deodorize
Model homes are popular for a reason, people love to walk through a neat, clean and clutter-free house. Every room in the house should get a thorough cleaning and smell as fresh as possible. If you have pets, repair any damage they may have done, remove stains, vacuum fur and put away pet toys and food bowls. You might need to hire a professional cleaning service to get rid of odors and stains. If possible, try to leave your furry pals with friends or family during showings. If you can’t do that, it’s best to pet them in a kennel.

☐ Depersonalize
I’ll never forget the stuffed pheasant and wild boar mounted on the walls throughout one seller’s house. Taste in home décor varies and that’s why most agents recommend depersonalizing the home before putting it on the market. Removing your family photos and other knickknacks will make it easier for potential buyers to imagine themselves in the home.

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