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Selling or buying a home is one of the most important decisions you will make in your lifetime, and it’s important to make sure that you know what information you will need and what steps to take before beginning this process. With an investment as large as a house, you want to make sure that you get the value you deserve and don’t spend any more money than you have to. That’s where the professionals come in, and in this article, we’ll cover what you need to know before hiring a real estate agent, or a broker so the process of buying a house can go as smoothly as possible.
Whether you’re buying or selling a home, it’s important to have a general idea of either your budget or what offers you are willing to accept. Most likely, the first question a real estate agent will ask you is, “How much are you willing to spend?” This question will determine the course of your home buying journey and have a major impact on your options and choices.
If you’re selling a home, it’s just as important to understand what realistic offer ranges you can accept are. If you currently own a house and aren’t sure what the value is, check nearby listings for houses for sale, and find one that is similar to yours, then approximate the value of your home based on that, or there are also appraisal services that can help determine the value of your home.
The last thing you want while buying a home is to lose out on an offer you love because of financing issues. To determine eligibility, home loan lenders will take a look at your income, credit score, assets, and any debt you may have and will make a determination. To facilitate this process as smoothly as possible, prepare all your financial documents and any other paperwork you might need.
Proof of income, bank stubs, tax returns, proof of residency, and your credit report are all good items to consider here. You’ll also need the obvious documentation like an ID and social security card, and you will be expected to submit all of this information. Once you receive your pre-approval, keep in mind it will most likely expire after a set period, after which you might have to resubmit your documentation.
Deep Clean and Repair
If you’re in the process of selling a home, now is the time to get everything up to shape. Get out the broom, mop, and dustpan, and start a full cleaning regimen. If your house looks better, it will sell faster.
Along the same lines, now is also the time to check out your house for any necessary repairs you may have been putting off. Home inspection issues or repairs that come up at the wrong time can delay or even ruin an offer entirely, so get ahead of the game and take care of that leaky roof, dripping faucet, or broken tiles before beginning this process.
Equity is the value you own in the home besides the rest of the mortgage debt. In other words, it’s the amount of the house that you have fully paid off and can call your own. If you have built up a good amount of equity, you may be able to use this as a down payment on your new home, and it will help with the pre-approval process as well.
Equity is determined by taking the complete value of the house and subtracting the total debt left on the mortgage, as well as any liens or other obligations the owner may have. The remaining value is the equity; ideally, this will be at least enough to cover the costs of the realtor, the commission, and the closing costs. If you have remaining mortgage debt, you’ll still be obligated to pay it back, so closely consider whether or not you have built up enough equity before hiring a real estate agent.
Enhancing and improving the outward, immediately obvious aspects of your house is the essence of curb appeal. First impressions are everything, and the same holds true for house buyers. Attraction is an instant and spontaneous reaction to visual information, and our brains react quickly to what we like or don’t like.
Some ways to enhance curb appeal are:
- Pressure wash the driveway and other areas
- Clean and clear the yard
- Clean the windows
- Paint the exterior if necessary
- Add a small touch of decor that will make your house stand out
Taking the time to consider and improve curb appeal has been shown to increase your home’s value by 3-5%. This is a solid return on investment, so be sure to keep this in mind.
With all of these tasks complete, you are well on your way to home buying or selling success. Take the next step and contact a real estate agent near you today to make your homeowner dreams come true.