The passing of one year to the next reminds us of new beginnings and new opportunities. Maybe you’ve been thinking about buying a home in 2017 — or selling one. Now is a good time to set some realistic goals (call them resolutions, if it helps!) for the weeks and months ahead. Here are some thoughts from your friends at Pacific Union:
- Interest rates are rising. If you plan to get a mortgage, get your paperwork in order and get locked into a low interest rate.
- Even if you don’t plan to actively look for a new home just now, it’s never too early to work on your credit score. Raising that number will help you get a bigger mortgage at a lower interest rate.
- While you’re at it, take a close look at your current credit rating. Nearly a quarter of all Americans have discovered problems with their credit reports, according to a recent survey.
- Make notes about the features you want in your new home, and about the neighborhoods that interest you most, then go searching for that perfect property. A real estate professional has a wealth of knowledge about local communities, neighborhoods, and schools, as well as the inside story on homes on the market.
- Numerous surveys have found that barely one-third of homebuyers shop around for the best mortgage rate. Most will take the first loan they’re offered, not knowing that a lower rate may be right around the corner. Shop around!
FOR HOME SELLERS:
- Talk with a trusted real estate professional for tips on improvements that will help find a buyer for your home: fixing structural problems, as well heating, electrical and plumbing systems; giving your home a fresh coat of paint, inside and out; and investing in landscaping improvements — think curb appeal!
- Not all improvements have to cost money to give you a big payoff. Wash all the windows. Keep the house bright — open the drapes and blinds, and replace dim lightbulbs with bright, high-wattage bulbs. Remove clutter from all rooms and closets.
- Take family photos off the walls and put them, along with other personal mementos and family heirlooms, in a storage unit, or your next home. Buyers want to imagine their own photos on the walls, and yours get in the way. They really do.
- If your home is on the market in winter, when trees are bare, display photos of how your property looks in summer, when trees are full of leaves and flowers are in bloom. If you’re in snow country, ensure that there is no white stuff to obstruct your landscaping efforts.
- Determine how much money you need to get out of your home, then set the sales price accordingly. Pricing is a delicate matter, with outside forces such as the surrounding neighborhood and the local economy having a say in the final price. A local real estate professional who knows the community and its sales history can help you set a fair price that will get your home sold in a timely manner.