Things to Know

For Buyers:

Are you in the market for a new home, or possibly your first one? This can be an exciting and stressful time. Make sure you’re ahead of the game by looking over these helpful tips.

  • Get pre-approved There is a big difference between pre-approval and pre-qualification. Pre-qualification is a brief assessment of your financial situation, but pre-approval from a lender is taking your actual salary, credit, and debt into account. This will also save a lot of heartache that can come from falling in love with a house you can’t actually afford.
  • Know the neighborhood If you’re really interested in a home, it’s worth your time to make several visits to it at different times of day. Is the neighborhood quiet and sleepy at 10 pm, or can you hear loud music and cars still racing by? How long will your commute to work be from your new home? How far are grocery stores, gas stations, and schools? These are all things to consider before making a long term commitment to a home and the surrounding area.
  • Look at the big picture While the majority of homebuyers don’t want “fixer uppers” or homes that will require serious and costly work, it’s important to keep in mind that many wonderful homes will require some changes so it better suits your style. If you can afford to make minor changes, don’t disregard a home because you hate the bathroom fixtures or the ugly wallpaper. These can all be changed down the road, and the structure and condition of the home are the more important factors to consider.
  • It’s not just about the price of the home Homebuyers often forget about additional costs and fees that come along with owning a home. Besides your mortgage payments, be prepared for HOA fees, utilities, taxes, and home repairs/maintenance. Budgeting for these before buying a home can save you a lot of grief in the long run.
  • Hire a home inspector This is perhaps the most important thing you can do before signing on the dotted line. The $300 you spend to have your dream home inspected can save you thousands down the road. It’s the best way to get an un-biased set of eyes in the home, and if problems are detected, it’s a great way to get the price of the house lowered (or have the seller make repairs before you buy).

 

For Sellers:

Are you planning to put your home on the market soon? Give yourself and your property a leg up with these tips, designed for a fast and profitable sale!

  • Liven up your curb appeal While they say to never judge a book by its cover, that old adage doesn’t translate when it comes to selling your home. Many prospective buyers will drive by your home before scheduling an appointment for a walk-through to determine if it’s even worthy of being viewed! This is the time to dust off your power washer, put a new coat of paint on your front door, and start planting flowers and shrubs. And don’t forget to regularly mow your lawn! While the maintenance of these things will eventually fall on the buyer, as the seller, it’s your job to show them how magnificent your home really is.
  • De-Clutter It’s not always easy to clear your home of what makes it “yours”, but it’s a necessary evil when preparing to sell. Removing personal photos, mementos and religious fixtures will allow the prospective buyer to envision how the home will look with their own items in it. Bonus: the more you clear out, the larger your home will appear!
  • Take lots of great photos This is right up there with making sure your homes curb appeal is above average. These days, the majority of homebuyers start their search online. The homes with the most views (and visits!) are the ones with clear and updated photos.
  • Sell your neighborhood and area Is your home in a great school district? Perhaps you’re walking distance to a lively downtown area with great restaurants and shopping. Maybe you live near desirable outdoor spaces, like a lake for fishing or great hiking trails. To many homebuyers, these attributes are just as important as the home itself. Make sure to mention any notable attractions or benefits that one would benefit from when buying your home.
  • Price it right the first time Many sellers want to list their price on the higher side, and then negotiate with the buyer to ensure they are getting as much as they can on the sale. This makes sense; however, it can really hurt you in the long run. Buyers are more knowledgeable than ever, and if your home is overpriced, they may pass before even coming to visit. Consult with a real estate professional to make sure you are listing your home at a reasonable rate.