How to get ready for the Spring as a Buyer or a Seller

 

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For some, Spring means a return to outdoor activities, enjoying the warm weather, and - everyone’s favorite - cleaning. For other, it means buying or selling a home. If you’re in that latter group, you’re in luck! We’ve put together a small list of things you can start doing now to be ahead of the game come Spring. Keep in mind that the to-do lists for buyers and sellers look very different. And some of you may actually be both. Whatever your position is this Spring, we’re here to help, with a curated experience to best serve you. Check out the list, and then reach out to learn more!

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Buyers:

Set Expectations Early – HGTV will have you thinking that all you need to be prepared to buy a home is your “must haves” and “wants” lists. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. While those elements are important and will significantly drive your decisions, its equally, if not more important to have realistic expectations on other things like your finances, timing, and especially how this past year has changed what you require of your home. It’s best for everyone involved to be on the same page of what you hope to achieve.

Speak to a Lender – When you start looking at homes, one of the first things a seller’s agent is going to ask you about is if you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage. They want the transaction to go as smoothly as possible, which means providing their client with qualified buyers. To avoid any unnecessary surprises down the line, having an experienced lender in your corner early will help set you up with financial advice, and ideally a pre-approval before you find that dream home.

Home Budget – Your lender is going to give you an estimate of how much house you can afford. Knowing your number will help you and your agent while on the hunt. It’s important to stick to that budget once it’s set. Last thing you’ll want is to fall in love with a home that isn’t in the cards. Staying on track budget-wise will keep the process moving in the right direction.

Your Budget – Yes, budget again. But this time we mean in terms of setting a budget for yourselves in your day-to-day life. When applying for a mortgage, you’ll need to have a good credit score to be approved with a low interest rate. Your finances are going to be under a microscope. Plan a budget, and stick to it. Be sure to not make any large purchases without first consulting your lender, and you should be able to keep that score high! Plus it is a great habit to get into, whether you’re taking out a mortgage or not.

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Sellers:

Pack – While prepping your home for listing, it’s never too early to start packing. It might seems daunting, but it will greatly assist in all the next steps. Set aside some time to organize. First, establish which items you’ll need to continue functioning in your home. Everything else is fair game. You’ll need to divide your items into “keep,” “sell,” “donate,” or “trash.” Don’t underestimate how long and arduous this process can be. Even the most organized sellers will face some emotional moments when it comes to deciding what to do with that box of old baby clothes you haven’t seen in years. Getting a head start is always a good idea.

Staging – Staging doesn’t necessarily mean emptying the home of all your belongings and bringing in new neutral furniture. At its core, it means to highlight the benefits and beauty of the home, which can be done in many ways, on many levels. To figure out which one is right for you, check out our latest Tips and Tricks post. But remember that your goal is to make the home appealing to as many buyers as possible. This is often the hardest hurdle for sellers. You’re actively taking out all the elements that make this house your home and making it a blank slate for someone new to make it theirs. This includes things like taking down family photos or replacing the decorative bowl your child made in ceramics class with an arrangement of fresh flowers. Try walking through every room as if you were a buyer. Maybe ask a friend to do the same, or even ask a professional (like us!) to help you decide what can go and what can stay.

Update – As time goes on and our lives get busy, what’s in style seems to change before we know it. The truth is most homes could use a refresh before they go on the market. It could be as simple as updating hardware. For others, it could mean a more complex project like replacing dated appliances, countertops, flooring…the list goes on. For even the most well-kept home, a fresh coat of paint can work wonders for making the home feel new again. While assessing what needs an update, don’t go for full-on trend. Think classic, with just a hint of trend. Your buyers won’t be able to resist.

Repair – Maybe your home is in need of a bit more than just updates. If your home has any major damages or safety issues, its best to remedy them prior to listing. You don’t want to scare off potential buyers who would otherwise love your home. Most buyers are going to want to do a home inspection, which will reveal the true state of your home. Get ahead and repair what you’re already aware of if your budget allows.

Get ready to say goodbye – Whether you’ve lived in your home for 2 years or 20, moving on can be hard. Important memories are made at home. So take pictures to help you remember them. Put them in a nice album…and then pack it away! The prep for listing the home is going to help you duringc the transition. Re-painting is actually a surprising trigger. When your favorite green dining room gets painted a neutral greige, you’re not going to feel as “at home” as you did. Seeing your personality get removed from the house will immediately change your mindset. And now it’s time to get excited about your next adventure!

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Both:

Find a Real Estate Agent – Having the right person to guide you through this process is crucial, whether you’re buying or selling. You need someone who will put you and your needs first, all while making the process as seamless as possible, and dare we say, even fun! Reach out today if you’re thinking of buying or selling this year. We can help set you up for one of the biggest successes of your life!

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