New Year's Real Estate ResolutionsAs 2021 comes to a close, it’s time to start looking forward to 2022. What are your real estate related goals and resolutions for this new year? Do you plan to buy, sell, or remodel your Silicon Valley home?  If so, this is a great time to sketch out your objectives and start early preparations to get the wheels in motion.

For South Bay home owners who want to make 2022 the year to sell and move, it’s wise to plan ahead so you can maximize your return on investment of time and money. A clean, well-prepared listing gives buyers greater confidence, and confident buyers tend to make higher offers! Take the time to do it right and you will reap the rewards of your effort.

Quick Tips for Planning to Sell a Home in 2022

  • Hire your real estate professional early in the process so that she or he may provide additional guidance from the beginning. It won’t cost more to hire early and you get more help. You may even save money by avoiding costly mistakes. A good agent will help you prepare your listing and determine a timeline to sell, whether you plan on selling this spring, next year, or next month.
  • Decluttering is one of the biggest task for home sellers and it can be where you get the most bang for your buck. Presenting a property to buyers in a way that feels like home, but not your home is a balancing act. Some homeowners choose to move out and stage their home to sell, which has been increasing in popularity and is certainly a successful way to declutter! Sellers occupying a listing should commit to depersonalizing the house and creating a marketable space. Some sellers will discover this is a much bigger undertaking than expected, and requires more time and energy than originally planned. This can be particularly challenging for long-term residents, sellers who are downsizing, and seniors. Talk to your Realtor before embarking, as some items may be helpful for staging and you don’t want to totally empty the house! Completely empty homes do not sell as well as those which are thoughtfully furnished.
  • Fix everything that is broken or in disrepair. No home is perfect, and buyers will not expect it to be (unless it’s brand new, of course), but everything you can repair is one less thing the buyers will worry about when writing an offer. That lightbulb that’s burnt out? Replace it now so that it doesn’t wind up in inspections or worrying buyers about the electrical system! Low cost repairs are often an excellent investment, but so can some more expensive fixes. I have had sellers who willingly go above and beyond preparing their home, from repiping to reroofing, see a clear return on investment for their efforts! However most sellers don’t want or need to do that much work. A bid with a price for the work from a reputable company is usually enough. Speak with your listing agent before tackling any major projects.
  • Clean everything: windows, window tracks, hardware, lamps, mossy patios, etc. A clean home is inviting and feels well cared for. Professional cleaning can make lightly used carpets look new again. Areas that easily show wear, like grout, caulk, and kitchen appliances, can give that “new home” feel when they are looking fresh!
  • Plan to have pre-sale inspections, but hire inspectors with your real estate salesperson.

Tips for Silicon Valley Home Buyers This Year

  • Hiring a Realtor early on is also wise, as you will get more guidance and again not pay more for it.
  • Plan to be pre-approved for your loan before seriously shopping for a new home – sellers and their agents will not take you seriously with a mere pre-qual letter, they want to know that you’ve submitted all your info to your lender and have a green light, needing only an appraisal, contract and preliminary title report.
  • Read up on the market conditions, trends and statistics for the specific areas which interest you – you can find all of Santa Clara County here: (local trends and micro markets are much more valuable than reading only the whole county, state or national news which could be misleading).
  • If anyone else will be involved in the home buying decision or financing, include him / her / them in the viewings from the beginning or they may come to a different conclusion than you have about things and veto your choice. Make sure you’re all on the same page!

Homeowners Planning to Improve a House, Condo, or Townhouse This Year

  • Updating and remodeling should be ongoing, ideally, since it’s much easier to paint one room each year than to take on the whole house at once, so with that in mind, start a file with what was renovated and when. Keep a second list of the life expectancy of various components such as the heater, air conditioner, water heater, and so on, so you can predict when they will need work and plan for it accordingly. (Feel free to reach out to your Realtor to get recommendations for contractors and tradespeople – we usually know some great ones!)
    • Book these big projects well ahead of time – ongoing shortages in the supply chain are still heavily impacting the availability and cost of both products and workers!
    • Want to do a major remodel with the idea of selling in a few years? DO consult with your Realtor to see if your plans will help or hurt your future market value! Real estate agents know what buyers want and do not want to see in homes today. And always keep the papers!
  • Along the same lines, get a schedule or checklist of maintenance items that should be done on a regular basis – doing these things will prevent costly repairs later! (You don’t want to discover an expensive roof leak because you forgot to clean out the gutter!) Many can be found online by searching for home maintenance schedule or checklist. Have an older or historic home? There are plenty of guides and books available on maintaining specialty properties like these, many of which cover restoration work and remodeling as well.
  • Plan to have your home inspected for pests periodically (termites, dry rot, etc.) – often every 3-5 years is appropriate in Northern California. (Ongoing contracts with nationwide pest control operators does not mean that your home is being inspected for termite or that damage is prevented.) Additionally, you might also have your house inspected by a property inspector every 10 to 15 years to make sure that any dangerous conditions are found and corrected before they cause problems.