Can you believe we’re wrapping up 2018? This is my favorite times of year, reflecting on what’s past and envisioning what’s to come. On that note, and to play off what I wrote last week, should one of your New Year’s resolutions be to buy or sell, there are some things you should be doing now in preparation.
If you are planning to buy a home pull your credit reports. Everyone is entitled to a free report from each of the three bureaus once per year. The government website www.consumer.ftc.gov will supply links to each from which to request your report. These will not reflect your credit score, however it’s a good idea to review them now in case there are any errors you need to dispute and resolve before proceeding with the mortgage process.
Speaking of which, call three lenders. Yes now, not later. I always advise my buyer clients to do that first for a few reasons. If there are any issues that need taken care of in order to get approved, you need to know so proper steps can be taken. When you have found your dream home is not the time to discover these issues. What’ your price range? It’s silly to go shopping with no budget, so have a candid conversation about your current income and expenses as well as what you are comfortable paying on a monthly basis. This will ensure you are looking at homes you are able to buy. Yes, call three. Each lender will have different programs to offer so it’s a good idea to shop a few in order to get what’s best. Keep in mind there is more to a loan than rate. I advise talking with your real estate professional for recommendations and to help decipher the differences between your options.
Don’t worry, Ms. Seller, I didn’t forget about you. Take advantage of the inside months to spruce up in order to have your home showing at its optimal level come spring. If your kitchens and bathrooms are dated start sprucing, do your spring cleaning now, and get those little household jobs done you’ve been putting off. You don’t have to do a complete remodel, keep in mind little touches like changing your cabinet pulls or adding a tile backsplash can do wonders in an older kitchen. New throw pillows and accent rugs are another inexpensive way to add some pop to your palace.
Think you should wait for the buyer to have a home inspection? Think again! Having one done before putting your home on the market can be very beneficial to sellers. It gives you a heads up on anything that needs addressed and providing that report to potential buyers may put you ahead of the competition. It not only shows you’ve done everything up front but also saves them the expense of having their own should they decide they are comfortable with the report and repair receipts you’ve provided.
Another year, and another column, in the history books! Have a safe and happy New Year and don’t forget to send me your questions. Cheers…
Melissa Berube, 2019 MBOR President