A new year is like a blank sheet of paper… anything is possible. While you may have already resolved to eat less and work out more, or to spend less and save more this year if you’re also looking to buy or sell a home in 2020, or simply to keep the house you have in tip-top condition, consider adding these to your list of New Year’s resolutions.
1. MAKE AN EXTRA MORTGAGE PAYMENT
If you want to own your home faster and save money to boot, make just one extra mortgage payment a year and you’ll shave years off the term of your loan and thousands in interest.
2. REFINANCE YOUR MORTGAGE
Even though the Federal Reserve raised interest rates, mortgage rates are still historically low. If you have an adjustable-rate loan or just want to lower your existing monthly payment, consider refinancing.
3. DRAFT A HOME MAINTENANCE PLAN
You love your home but it’s awfully needy, requiring constant care, feeding and upkeep. To ensure your house gets the love it deserves, draw up a list of the annual maintenance chores that need doing then tackle one or two each month.
4. MAKE YOUR HOME SAFE
You take pains to create a beautiful home, like a page out of a magazine, so why not ensure its safety for you and your family? Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and test their batteries regularly. Similarly, check your house for radon, a colorless and odorless gas linked to lung cancer deaths. Make sure your house can freely breathe; proper venting to the outside will help prevent mold growth and other health hazards.
5. CLEAR THE CLUTTER
Are you still overwhelmed by all the stuff in your home before Christmas added even more? You don’t have to go all Marie Kondo on your house, but getting organized and losing what you don’t use will go a long way to make you and your home happier in 2020.
1. GET A HOME INSPECTION
Most home buyers (The National Association of Realtors say 77%) who make an offer will get a home inspection to determine the condition of your house, and then use that knowledge to negotiate pre-close repairs or a lower price. Be proactive and get your own inspection so you can remove or address issues that may be obstacles to selling your house.
2. APPEAL TO MOBILE AND ONLINE BUYERS
Most home searches today begin online, with mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) fast becoming the norm. Hire the Dempsey Phelps team, internet-savvy brokers, to make sure your listing is optimized for web viewing and mobile apps. We include a good description, accurate data and high-resolution photos to show your home to its best advantage and attract the most buyers.
3. MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION
Prep your house for a quick sale. Fix things that don’t work, touch up paint, update your landscaping, de-clutter and de-personalize, and deep-clean everywhere (that includes the cobwebs near the ceiling, the baked-on oven mess, the grungy bathroom tile, etc.). Consider hiring a stager to give your home professional panache. According to NAR, 46% of buyers say they are more likely to tour in person a staged home they saw online.
4. BE REALISTIC
Educate yourself about your local real estate market; have the Dempsey Phelps team run comps to learn which properties are selling and which are languishing. Then work with the Dempsey Phelps team to reasonably – and competitively – price your home. Don’t assume a hot market guarantees multiple offers or a quick sale. Realistically set your expectations.
5. TREAT YOUR HOME LIKE AN INVESTMENT
No question, selling a house is an emotional process. For most of us, our homes are where precious memories are made and we’re sentimentally attached. But the minute you list your house it becomes a product, one that will be poked, prodded and picked over by a fickle buying public. Be sure you’re truly ready to cut the cord so your emotions don’t get in the way of selling your home.
1. GET YOUR FINANCES IN ORDER
Want a great mortgage? You’ll need good credit. Know your FICO score (740+ gets the best loan rate) and take steps to repair or boost a low score (below 620) by paying your bills on time and paying off your credit cards. Plus, buying a home takes cash – you’ll need money for a down payment, closing costs and loan fees. If you haven’t started already, now’s the time to save, save, save. Then save some more.
2. GATHER YOUR PAPERWORK
Get and keep handy documents you’ll need to apply for a home loan; they include your W-2s, copies of your tax returns, credit reports, pay stubs, bank account statements, divorce or child support payments, etc.
3. RESEARCH MORTGAGE OPTIONS
Shop around for the best loan with the best terms. Talk to multiple lenders because government programs (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA), banks and credit unions all have different terms. Find out too if you’re eligible for any state or local home buyer programs, many of which offer down payment help or mortgages with 3% down.
4. GET PRE-APPROVED
Not only does having a pre-approval letter from your lender indicating how much mortgage money you qualify for, making it easier to house-sho in your price range, being pre-approved also strengthens your position as the buyer, improving the odds of your offer being accepted.
5. WORK WITH PROFESSIONALS
Rely on the Dempsey Phelps team, qualified & experienced brokers, to help you find the home of your dreams. Trust us, your real estate professional, to help you navigate negotiating and closing your transaction, as the new TRID rules have significantly changed the home-buying process.