By many appearances, the housing market is on its way to recovery following years of both buyers and sellers sitting on the fence, according to Bradley Tuttle’s Real Estate Update.
While sellers have been hoping prices would improve so they can get more for their homes, buyers have anxiously anticipated the market hitting rock bottom so they can purchase a house at the best possible price.
Whether buyer or seller, here are some of the top resolutions to consider before entering the housing market:
• Monitor your credit – Instead of paying to monitor your credit, take advantage of the one free credit report a year from each of the big three credit reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – as well as from any smaller credit reporting agency regulated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Obtain one report every four months apart, to stay on top of your credit all year long. You also want to purchase your credit score, a numerical rendition of your credit report, so you can look at your credit from a lender’s perspective. The least-expensive loans are available at a score of 670 and above.
Tracking your credit allows you to improve your score by catching any mistakes as well as rectifying late and missing payments and paying down bills.
• Rent to own - If prices are too high for you to buy just yet, get in to a position to buy by renting a home with an option to buy it.
In a rent-to-own deal, a portion of your monthly rent payment goes toward a down payment to buy the home.
If you don't have ideal credit at the beginning of the rent-to-own deal, you'll have time to get you and your credit standing ready for a purchase.
With some lease options, you can lock in at today's low prices for a purchase down the road, when price could be higher. You'll build equity while you wait to buy.
• Purge – If you’re ready to sell your current home, then you’re ready to get rid of all that stuff you haven’t used in the past six months. Get rid of items you don't want buyers to see and/or that you don't want to move to your new home. It's probably not the ideal time to hold a garage sale, so donate items for a tax deduction.
• Be a strong competitor – Since buyers compare its price, condition and location with competing properties, you’ll need to do more than rid it of clutter before putting it on the market. Spruce up your home or go all out with staging, then price it competitively considering what nearby homes for sale and recently sold homes of the same age, in the same condition and have a similar floor plan.
Refinance – If you’re looking at a longer period before putting your home on the market, build some additional equity in it by refinancing.
This is an ideal time to do so to get a lower rate or to escape an adjustable rate mortgage with the historically low interest rates.
• Remodel right – Waiting to sell also offers the opportunity to increase its attractiveness to buyers while allowing you to enjoy a home improvement in the meantime.
The improvements most likely to give you the highest return include those to the kitchen, new siding, a bathroom addition and energy-saving window replacements.
Buyers and Sellers:
• Hire early – Experts recommend that if putting your home on the market or buying a home is your plan for the year, then hire an agent now and beat the rush.
Hiring agent now gives you time to vet him or her and you'll have an expert to assist in planning your sale and/or purchase.
Besides selling homes, agents are also strategic advisers, and having one is especially important for those looking to sell as well as buy a home, which increases the stress exponentially.
Source: Bradley K. Tuttle’s Real Estate Update
Owner and Founder
RE/MAX of Boulder