10 New Year’s Resolutions for Buying or Selling a Home in 2015

New Year's Resolutions for buying or selling a home in 2015.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

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Make any adjustments that will make your home more appealing to a would-be buyer.

Buying a Home

  1. 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!)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Marti Reeder, Realtor, Managing Broker