Spring is the busiest time of the real estate calendar. While the flowers are busy blooming and the grass is growing greener, more and more houses are hitting the market.
“This spring, both buyers and sellers should be prepared for fast-moving sales, intense negotiations, and even bidding wars,” says Jeremy Wacksman, CMO at Zillow Group. “Home shoppers and sellers are motivated to become more strategic and knowledgeable about what’s happening in their neighborhood. Understanding whether you are in a buyer’s or a seller’s environment will help you manage your expectations and will give you insight into what you’re going to need to bring to the table in order to close the deal.”
Navigate the real estate market, whether you’re a buyer or a seller, with these top tips.
Are you selling this spring?
Get your to-do lists in order, and get ready to tackle spring cleaning projects that update your home’s exterior.
Head Outside to Update Your Home’s Curb Appeal
Remember that honey-do list you created? Now’s the time to employ it! Tackling projects outside the house helps to revamp the entire look of the property, updating it in the eyes of prospective buyers.
Since buyers will often drive past a house before even touring it, now is the perfect time to create the perfect first impression. Cosmetic care of your yard and home will really benefit you in the long run (for sale sign or not!). A beautiful lawn, a lovely garden, and a spruced up home make for the perfect picture; while you’re at your spring cleaning, you can snag some new photos of your house. That way, you can showcase the way your home looks during one of the most beautiful and aesthetically pleasing times of the year.
Be sure to:
- Mow the lawn
- Trim the trees, hedges, and bushes
- Clean the gutters
- Order or plant new flowers
- Power wash deck or patio
- Stain deck, fence, or porch as needed
While these seem like routine landscaping activities, they give your home a fresh look. If you’re really looking to give your home a fresh look, consider the state of your driveway and mailbox too.
Just like curbside appeal affects the first impression of your home, the interior is also important to freshen up. Something to keep in mind about “updating” your interior is that the up-and-coming
generation of home buyers are millennials, so their tastes may differ from what’s currently in your home. Which isn’t to say go and buy a new decor for your whole house, but pay attention to how your personalized tastes affect the overall impression of your house. It’s not a bad idea to begin depersonalizing your home to allow potential buyers to see themselves in that space.
Adding a fresh or new coat of paint can also help brighten the interior of your home. While updating your decor isn’t something you must do, it is, however, a great idea to do a deep, spring cleaning of your house.
Don’t forget to:
- Use a wood polish to polish hardwood floors
- Clear clutter
- Wash windows and mirrors
- De-mold bathtubs, showers, washer and dryers, as well as any other humid areas
- Check and replace light bulbs as needed (more light is flattering)
Are you buying this spring?
There are a handful of ways you can set yourself apart as a buyer in this seller’s market. Why not get a leg up and prepare yourself early in case the perfect house crosses your house hunting path?
Assess Your Budget and Finances
Getting your budget, finances, and mortgage approval before house hunting can set you apart from other buyers. It shows sellers you’re serious, but you’re also prepared to take the next step for the right house. Having your finances in order moves you from “wannabe buyer” to “potential buyer” which carries a lot more weight. So, where do you start?
Determining your budget is important. Knowing what you’re comfortable spending on a home and possible renovations or repairs means you can look at homes without being disappointed later on because you can’t afford them. If you’re a first-time home buyer, you’re 39% more likely to exceed your budget, according to RISMedia. Knowing what you can spend saves you financial trouble down the road. It’s possible lenders will approve buyers for higher payments than they can actually make; so take into account other parts of home ownership. Cost of insurance, taxes, maintenance, HOA fees, and even furnishings should be considered in your budget.
Your next step could be to meet with several different lenders months in advance of the time you’re planning to buy. By doing this, you’re able to make a competitive offer quickly when you find the perfect home. Borrowing has become much more difficult, meaning you’ll need better documentation of your income alongside other paperwork. Preparing these details does wonders for crunch time when the slightest thing can affect your chances on a house.
Find Your Real Estate Expert
A professional realtor is your best ally in buying or selling a home, no matter what the season. The marketing materials on your house are more important now than ever, thanks to mobile technology that allows buyers to search homes on their phones or tablets. Using professional photos, a virtual tour and using a fantastic description boosts the chances of your home selling. At Real Estate Experts, we’re ready to give your house marketing something extra.
As a buyer, having a trusted real estate professional (agent or buyer’s agent) will increase your chances of winning a bidding war. With low inventory on the market, bidding wars are commonplace. Buyers agents are a buyer’s best friend in a market like this because they have sole responsibility to the buyer and can provide the ultimate amount of information.