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Home Buying and Selling Tips

Real Estate

Home Buying and Selling Tips

If you’re a prospective homebuyer, there are several things you can do to make the buying process easier. The same is true for home sellers.

As a buyer, figure out how much house you can afford. Calculate your monthly income and debt, and be sure to check your credit report and FICO score. Likewise, calculate how much you can afford for a down payment. It’s also important to get pre-approved for a mortgage, and speak to at least five lenders and mortgage brokers before choosing the type of mortgage that is best for you. And be sure to shop for the best interest rates and programs.

Determine what you want and need in a home, such as location, single-family versus attached, choose a price range, size, number of bedrooms and baths that will fulfill your needs.

If you’re a seller, gauge your need to sell. Define your goals for the next 5-10 years, and weigh the pros and cons of selling your house. Figure out if you can afford to sell, move and buy a new home. It’s also a good idea to determine your home’s equity and research the local housing market.

Consider remodeling your home to fit your needs, and weigh the pros and cons of renting your current residence. Be sure to calculate your selling expenses. List the repairs and projects you’ll have to do to get your home ready for the market and estimate the costs of hiring contractors.

See what projects you can afford and adjust how much you expect to get for selling your home. To get top dollar, consider remodeling projects and “green” upgrades that increase your home’s value.

Expect to pay about seven to 10 percent of the home’s sale price in closing costs, Realtor commissions, transfer taxes and prorated property taxes. Other costs include a professional home inspection, capital gains tax, mortgage payoff penalties, moving expenses, the cost of living in a new city or neighborhood, and costs related to getting a mortgage for a new home.

There are also several staging tips a home owner can use when selling during the holidays. Make sure your décor is neutral and clean the house thoroughly. Remove clutter and create a cozy vibe with a bowl of pinecones, an evergreen wreath, or a pot of cider simmering on the stove. Freshly baked cookies are also a nice touch.

If you have an earthy color scheme, accent with rich tones like cranberries, forest greens and gold. Dangle mistletoe in an arched doorway and tone down any garish light displays while your home is on the market. A tall Christmas tree can help you show off your two-story great room, and don’t over-decorate with lights, Santa figurines, and other displays.

There’s a selling myth that you should wait until spring to sell your home. While spring is the busiest season for real estate sales, people buy homes year-round.