The housing market is tougher in the winter, and with the New Year here, people may be scrambling to not only sell a house, but to buy one. Here are 10 tips to make buying or selling a home easier in 2015.
Selling a Home
- Declutter but don’t depersonalize. Get rid of unnecessary things that have accumulated, but remember to keep your home inviting. A generic-looking home will not do as well on the market compared to a more inviting home that has some personality – and potential!
- Freshen the paint. Neutral paint will help make your home seem lighter and bigger. It will be easier for potential buyers to consider moving in if the walls aren’t a bold shade, and it will give a good first impression with potential buyers.
- If you can, update kitchen appliances. This will add more value to the home, and it can make an older house look fresher. A kitchen can be the most valuable room in a house. If you can’t install new cabinets, try re-facing them. It’s often more cost-effective and can make them look like new.
- Eliminate bad smells. Clear disposals and drains, open windows, air out the house, etc. If you are a smoker, place bowls of vinegar around the house, and leave the bowls out for a few days. It will get rid of most of the stale cigarette smell when windows are opened.
- Make any adjustments that will make your home more appealing to a would-be buyer.
Buying a Home
- Get pre-approved by a lender before you house hunt. This will save a lot of stress from looking at houses you may not be able to afford, and you will feel a lot more comfortable making a serious offer when you find the house that’s right for you. Getting pre-approved will also give you a better idea of what you can afford, and it will give you time to shop around. (We’ll talk more about this later this month, so stay tuned!)
- Leave room to expand. While buying a two bedroom house might seem like a good idea, think about your future before you make an offer. Do you want more kids or maybe a guest room when your parents visit? See what bigger options fit into your budget before settling on a smaller home.
- Keep your money where it is. If you plan on buying a home in the next three to six months, it isn’t wise to make any large purchases, like a new car or boat. Lenders want to see that you’re reliable, and it can help you get a better loan. Don’t open new credit accounts or create new debt, or you’ll have trouble getting a loan.
- Think from a financial standpoint, not an emotional one. If you fall in love with a house that is out of your price range, you may make some poor decisions. Think more from a financial standpoint, like how much upkeep will cost you, along with potential heating and energy costs. A home purchase is an investment, and you don’t want to end up hating the house in three months because you didn’t trust your financial instincts.
- Hire a home inspector. While it seems costly upfront, it could save you thousands of dollars down the line. A home inspector’s job is to make sure you know everything about the house, and that will help you make a better decision. If there are issues with the house, this can also be used as a bargaining tool.
Still have questions? Thinking about buying or selling in 2015? Your real estate agent – we recommend you work with a REALTOR® – can answer all your questions and allay your fears.