TIPS FOR SELLERS
Preparing your home: Cut the grass, paint the trim, dispose of all excess items that you do not use. Stand back and take a good look at the house from buyer’s perspective. Remember that any repairs necessary will be excuses to cut your price. Go through the house and clean out closets, scrub the kitchen and baths, take care of any carpets that need cleaning or replacement.
Choosing your Realtor When choosing your realtor, look at your realtor’s track record. How long has he or she been in business. Does he or she have a solid reputation for hard work and honesty? Do you feel confident with this person? Does he or she rely on sales gimmicks or does he or she know the business? Your realtor will be the one that can make the experience a positive one.
Setting the price: Once you have a realtor whom you trust and have confidence in, listen to him or her. He knows the business, he can see your house as others will see it. If you have chosen your realtor well, you can rely on him to offer you honest advice regarding listing price and selling strategies.
Listing the property When listing the property, be sure that you have an understanding of the selling process. Don’t hesitate to ask your realtor any questions that will make the process a success for you. Make sure that your realtor understands your ground rules for showing, times, showing notice, lockboxes, etc.
Showing the prpoerty; Be sure to get as much feedback from your broker or any other broker who might be showing your home as possible. If there are things to be done to make the house look better, this is the time to take care of them. Discuss pricing with you broker as the showings progress. Keep abreast of other properties thaat are selling in the areaa.
Making the sale; When your broker brings you an offer on your property, this will be your decision. Your broker can offer advice and information, but you are the one who will be in charge. I recommend taking a reasonable amount of time to decide - don’t be hasty. Keep emotions out of your decision making process. Go over the offer carefully with your broker and listen to his advice regarding details of the sale.
Getting to closing: Check in with your broker often during the period of time between the contract and the closing. Try to make your self available for inspections, appraisals, lenders documents. Expect the unexpected during this process and be prepared do work with the buyer if any hitches should arise, such as problems with the home inspection or issues with the appraisal. Again, rely on you realtor for good advice during this process - he or she is working on your behalf.
TIPS FOR BUYERS
Before buying a home, there are certain things that you should be familiar with. Here is a checklist of tips on buying a home:
Check your credit score. Your credit score will not only help determine whether or not you can finance your home, but also what kind of a down payment you will need and what interest rate you can get. This determines your monthly payment. Generally speaking, a credit score of 700-720 will get you a good deal and a credit score above 750 will get the best deals on the secondary market. Talk to your banker about the minimum, as this changes. You can improve your chances by making payments on time, and not applying for new credit for a year before you apply for financing.
Decide what you can afford for a home. There are several formulas for determining this, depending what type of load you are getting. FHA financing suggests, with some exceptions, that no more than 31% of your monthly income go for a house payment. For conventional financing, the percentage is generally 28%. Before you look for a house, determine what you can comfortably pay per month and adjust the price of your potential home accordingly.
Save for your down payment and closing fees. The amount you will need to have down, depends on what type of financing you will be getting. This can be anywhere from 3.5% to 20% down, unless you are applying for a VA or First Time Buyer Loan. In addition to the down payment, the closing costs will consist of expenses such as bank fees, appraisals, inspections, flood determination and attorney fees. Sometimes, these fees can be paid by the person selling the house, if the type of financing allows it and if the seller is willing. These are things that you will want to discuss with your broker.
Prior to buying a house, try to build a comfortable savings account. This will not only give you a contingency fund if you have unexpected repairs on your new home, but it will help with your mortgage application, if your banker knows that your are not living on a month to month basis. Some lenders will allow more latitude if they see that you have a contingency fund.
Get pre-approved for your financing. Prior to shopping for your home, this preapproval from your mortgage professional will allow you to shop for your home with the confidence that you can follow through with your purchase. It also gives you a level of legitimacy when you begin negotiations.
Choosing your Realtor: When choosing your Realtor, look at his or her track record. How long has he or she been in business. Does the Realtor have a solid reputation for hard work and honesty? A good broker will be knowledgeable, experienced and competent. He will work diligently to make your transaction a successful and stress-free one.