Seeing as the housing market is incredibly hot right now, I found it appropriate to talk about buying and selling a house.
This is a very big decision and can be an extremely stressful endeavor. You can alleviate some of that stress if you know what to do and what to expect.
Do your homework
Whether you are building new or buying an existing property, you need to do your homework. Hire reputable contractors, realtors, inspectors, etc. You can cheap out with these services, but over the long-term, it’ll cost you.
Always do the inspection
This is a must, must! The inspection can save you so much money! Say you visit a house and love it, but want to get in ASAP, so you skip the inspection. After a few months, you notice some significant shifting and cracking.
Guess what, you need your foundation fixed. That could run you, depending on the severity of the issue, $20,000 or more.
Another example and costly example would be a roof replacement.
Not only can it save you money, but some issues found in the inspection can be added to your contract. If the inspector comes back with some issues, you can include that in your amended contract, and have the seller fix whatever the issue is before closing.
There are many financial conditions that come into play when buying a house.
- Hidden costs – Inspection, appraisal, down payment, earnest money, etc.
- Once you own it – property taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, etc.
- Pre-approval – Get this done by a lender before you buy. If you have a pre-approval when you make an offer, your offer is more competitive
- Improve your credit – Having your credit in the best possible condition is a must. A higher credit rating can lower your rate and could increase the amount you’re approved for.
- Stay on budget – Don’t buy more house than you can afford. Live within your means and look for a price that’s below your pre-approval amount.
- Avoid big purchases and new credit – This goes along with the rate you get and the approval process.
- Debt/income ratio – This is one of the big parts in the approval process for your mortgage. The lender compares your income to all of your outstanding debt, along with what your possible mortgage payment will be. Income/debt ratio should be 43% or below.
- What you need – W2s, tax returns, paycheck stubs, verification of employment
Clean and declutter
Make your home spotless. Vacuum and put lines in the carpet if you can. Sweep and scrub floors. Clean windows. Make sure the kitchen and bathrooms are especially clean.
Take pictures and art off of the walls, and leave minimal amounts of furniture. People want to walk into a home and imagine their art and their furniture. They want to “make themselves at home,” and imagine what it would be like if they lived there.
Fix the big issues
This could come out during the inspection too, but fix blatant, big issues. Roof repairs/replacement, furnaces, air conditioning units, etc. The goal is for someone to buy your house, so if you have the big issues taken care of, people have fewer excuses to say yes.
Trim the hedging, cut the grasses, and make that garden look perfect. You need people to say wow before they walk in. If they love the house before they step inside, they’ll be in a better state of mind going in.
If your yard is ugly and they know it, they’ve already been disappointed, and everything they see inside won’t be as impressive.
Get the word out
Put that house on every and any social media, website, etc. as you can. Hopefully, your realtor does a lot of this for you, but the more people know about it the better.
Make sure you tell your neighbors also because the people who buy your house will, obviously, be living next to your neighbors. They want good people next door. Preferably, someone they know and trust.
Buying and/or selling a home is a very important decision, and probably the biggest purchase you’ll ever make.
Use these tips to help you through the process.
To learn more about the financial aspect of buying or selling a home, and for our disclosures, visit www.crgfinancialservices.com.
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