Buying a home is a big step and can be as stressful as it is fun. Before you step foot in your first open house, there are a few things you can do to make the home-buying process more enjoyable and far less stressful.
1. Buyers: Get pre-approved with a lender
Applying for a mortgage before you begin house hunting may be the best thing you could do for yourself and your pocketbook.
What is Pre-Approval?
To be pre-approved for a mortgage loan means that a bank or lender has reviewed your creditworthiness, income and loan application and determined that you are qualified to purchase a home within a certain price range. They will then issue an approval letter, which you can use to prove you are a qualified buyer.
Yes, it takes valuable time and effort up front, but it’s effort you’ll have to put in eventually. Getting pre-approved assures you’re not shopping for more than you can afford, shows the real estate agent you’re a qualified buyer, and may lend more weight to any offer to purchase you make. Hopefully it will make the process less stressful and more enjoyable as well.
2. Sellers: Prep your home
before placing the sign in the yard. First impressions are a very real thing, and extremely important when selling a home.
is the first thing potential buyers see and says a lot about how well you keep your house as a whole. Keep the grass and bushes well manicured, make sure the yard and garage are free of toys and clutter, and repair any broken items on the outside of the house or garage.
Stage the house
to appeal to buyers by removing extra furniture, de-cluttering countertops and shelves, cleaning the inside, and washing the windows.
Make it smell fresh
with potpourri, fresh candles, or flowers. Consider baking cookies before your next open house to make it smell even more welcoming. Remember to clean the cat litter and, if possible, remove pets from the home when it’s being shown to potential buyers.
3. Prepare for the extra costs of buying and selling a home.
There is more to buying than the mortgage payment and more to selling than the sale price.
When Buying a home, make a list of all possible expenses. If you’re new to home buying or haven’t done it in awhile, study up and prepare in order to eliminate any last minute surprises. Some additional expenses might include property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, utility hook-ups, origination fees, appraisal fees, and the cost of moving your belongings. Also, ask up front whether you will owe money at closing.
When Selling it’s most important to remember you’ll be paying a commission to the real estate agent. It’s often a percentage of the total sale price – generally around 6% to 7%. Keep in mind that in addition to the commission, you may have to pay the balance of your property taxes, if you haven’t done so already.
Getting your home and your finances in order isn’t always the ideal way to start the home buying and selling process, but will help assure a smooth process going forward, with fewer delays and less stress once you’re ready to make an offer on the home of your dreams.
As always, we’re here to help! If you need mortgage assistance, call or stop in today.