The new year marks a time for new beginnings. It’s a time to reflect on the past 12 months and think about how we want to change our lives for the better. Year after year we make resolutions that have to do with eating better, exercising more or saving more. Real estate resolutions are rarely on people’s list of resolutions, mainly because they don’t sell or buy a home each year. But if you’re thinking of selling or buying a home soon, you should focus your New Year’s resolutions on your goals in the real estate world. If you ask any new homeowner or seller what they would do differently if they were to do it again, they would most likely have a list ready. Here are five real estate resolutions made by previous home buyers and sellers.
1. Resolve to Get Your Financial House in Order
Buying a home takes a lot of preparation, but before you meet with anyone, you should get an idea of what your financials look like. This includes your credit score. Look at it from a lender’s perspective. Realize though, that fixing your credit score can take up to six months before you see some real change. Meet with a mortgage broker early in the year if you’re not sure how your situation looks. A good real estate agent should be able to help you find the right mortgage broker.
2. Resolve to Think of Your Home as a Product
You are trying to sell your home, so you want it to be in the best shape possible without spending too much. Start clearing out old items in those closets, as we all tend to be a little bit of a hoarder. Ask your agent’s advice on paint jobs and if he or she believes it is necessary. Power washing the carpets is never a bad idea. If that vanity in the bathroom has been bugging you for years because it looks too big for the size of the bathroom, change it. It will give the impression that your bathroom is bigger. If you start on your home repairs early in the year, you can spread them out over the course of several months, so you’re not spending large amounts of money at once.
3. Resolve to Start Feeling Out the Market Early
Once you decide you’re ready to buy a house you may feel the need to go out and look at open houses right away. Take some time to really study and learn the market, what your ideal home consists of, and fair market value of homes in the area you’d like to live. Also, your agent, if he or she knows you well enough, will know of homes on the market that will fit your needs. You may even place a few offers before you find your dream house. The experience of looking for homes once you’ve studied the market will only improve your situation as an educated buyer, maximizing your chances of getting your best offer.
4. Get Your Pre-Approval Before House Hunting
Pre-approval means you have met with a loan officer and they have looked over your credit score and believe you can readily qualify for a loan. The loan officer should give you a pre-approval if you qualify for multiple loan offers. The officer will also provide you with a pre-approval letter that you can show to different lenders. This pre-approval letter will give you the borrowing power. You can receive as many pre-approval letters from as many loan officers as you want, but remember that each loan officer will run a credit check, which will show up in your credit report. The pre-approval letter can also be shown to listing brokers when bidding for a home. It shows your seriousness and you financial stability, giving you the upper hand if it comes to a bidding war.
5. Finding a realtor
Buying or selling a home can be a complex matter, finding the right realtor can either make or break your experience. The right realtor will not only show and sell homes, but offers advice and strategically advertises your home well in advance. There is much more than just comparing prices when looking at homes, each home has a different set of inspections, marketing, financials, and negotiating mazes. Let your realtor handle the stressful and tedious paperwork. Plus, your realtor should be an expert on the area in which you wish to live.