As the New Year is in its second month, it’s not too late to resolve to do things differently, change some bad habits to make life better, or keep doing things right to continue the good life. Either way, here are some real estate resolutions to help buyers and sellers.

  • Buyers: Get your finances together.

If you are planning to buy a home in 2018, now’s the time to meet with a mortgage professional to see your financial situation from a lender’s perspective. Are there any credit issues that need to be resolved? Does your credit score need to be higher to get a better rate? Meeting with a local lender can help a lot.

  • Sellers: Think of your home as a car that you want to sell.

Get rid of clutter. Make it appealing. Clean it up. Make it sparkle and shine. Maybe do some painting. I once sold an old Z car with a new paint job for more than I paid – plus I enjoyed it more when it looked like new. Speak to a real estate agent who knows about staging a home.

  • Buyers: Start checking out the market right away.

Visiting open houses is a good start, but it’s also important to learn about the market, the prices, and home values in the neighborhoods where you want to live. Browse the local Hilton Head Multiple Listing Service or Zillow to see all available properties. Visit an agent’s website to search the local listings. Become an informed buyer.

  • Sellers: Strategize for buying and selling at the same time.

Selling and buying at the same time might result in physical and mental stress. Factors that come into play include: can afford to buy before selling, must sell before buying, uprooting to short-term housing, and the inconvenience level. It helps to have a strategy in place. It is important that your agent help you structure the times and terms accordingly.

  • Buyers and Sellers: Choose your real estate agent.

Selling or buying a home takes time and planning. It makes a lot of sense to get the right real estate agent involved in the process as soon as possible. He or she can be your expert adviser well before the real estate transaction takes place.

For more tips, visit for a free online book, “Finding Agent Right.”

Larry Stoller is the broker-owner and Realtor with Real Estate Five of the Lowcountry. or