For home buyers and sellers wanting to get settled in a new home in the new year, here are a few things to keep in mind if you are buying or selling during the holidays:
It can be a great time to buy – With fewer buyers in the market and sellers ready to have closure by year end, there are opportunities to be had during the holidays. If you don’t like what is currently on the market, let’s scour the market for listings that were previously on the market as there was seller motivation earlier in the year.
Stick to your list of needs – It is easy to let the emotion of the holiday overwhelm your good sense. Holiday décor and the smell of baked goods can make a property seem like a better fit than it truly is. Shop smart!
Timing – The holidays can cause more challenges to your contract to closing timeline than you may think. From federal holidays to people being out of the office on vacation, your closing deadline may be delayed. It is best to plan ahead and let your entire team know about your expectations and timeline so everyone can be on the same page. I can help you with this type of communication.
It can be a great time to sell – Although there may be fewer buyers out, the buyers who are out are usually serious and ready to buy. Also, with visitors from out of town, someone considering a relocation may just have the time on their hands to look for homes during their vacation. There may also be fewer sellers to contend with because some will have taken their homes off the market for the holidays. Finally, buyers who may have more time on their hands may be spending more time on the internet in their home search.
Going out of town can make home selling easy – It is easiest to show your home if you are not in it. Let me take care of the details!
Don’t go too crazy with the holiday décor – It is easy to add layers of holiday decorations on top of what is already in your home such as moving the couch just a little closer to the other living room furniture or cramping the stockings on the mantle. Avoid overwhelming clutter during the holidays and take out more than what you add. You want the space appearing bigger, not smaller.
Be clear about your timeline – If you get an offer on your home, be grateful, but also realistic. If the buyers are looking for a close date between Christmas and New Year’s, think about what this means for your holiday plans.
The holidays provide an amazing opportunity for both buyers and sellers, but don’t get carried away. If you are thinking about a move, let’s strategize now. Give me a call or text me at 425.890.0865 or email [email protected].
If this year is your year to buy a home, whether you are currently renting, need to sell a home first, or even just moving out of your parents’ home, there are a number of activities you can do right now that will put you in a great position when you are ready to write an offer:
Clean up your credit. If you aren’t ready to contact a lender just yet, the first step you can make is to check your credit report and note any areas of concern or issues you need to address. It is not usual for errors to pop up. For example, mistakes can happen with consumers with similar names. There may also be late payments, collections issues or other red flags that need to be addressed before you apply for a loan. The website: annualcreditreport.com allows consumers to check their credit report at the three big credit agencies: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian once a year for free.
Check your debt balances. How much do you owe on your credit cards? Do you have any vehicle loans? Do you have any revolving credit card debt? Although a lender will review this with you to determine what you can afford, having your own awareness of your debt situation is a good plan.
Don’t make any large purchases or close any credit accounts before talking to a lender. Even if you only owe $2,000 on your car loan and want to pay it off, I recommend talking about your debt reduction strategy with a lender first. Your lender may determine that a better plan for you is to use that $2,000 towards your down payment, closing costs, or replacing the carpet in your current home that you are selling.
Do prepare to sell anything you are ready to get rid of that has value. Perhaps you are planning on selling one of your cars because your new home is on a mass transit system and that is how you plan on getting to work. Perhaps you are downsizing and will be selling the pool table which is currently housed in the garage or the old buffet that is in the already crowded dining room. Not only will selling those items give you a little extra cash, in many instances, getting rid of these items will help your home show better.
Prepare your documents. When you meet with a lender, things may start to move quickly. Although the lender will probably give you a list of the documents they need, it is a good idea to gather what you can ahead of time, especially if you are starting to pack: Tax returns, bank statements, proof of assets such as 401Ks and other savings accounts, lien releases, documentation on any late bills or collections that you are working through on your collection report or any other financial documents that may pertain to you getting a loan should be collected and put somewhere where it is easy to find.
Buying a home is an exciting time! A little preparation now will help your transaction go as smoothly as possible. I can’t wait to talk with you about your wants and needs! If you have any questions, give me a call or text me at 425.890.0865 or email [email protected].
“The house I want to buy looks great and some of my friends are saying my offer stands a better chance of being accepted if I waive an inspection. Should I?”
While I applaud your friends trying to help you get the home you want, in short, I do not recommend waiving an inspection. I have seen too many structural deficiencies hiding behind fresh paint to feel an inspection is superfluous.
Having an inspection gives you the opportunity to get to know the bones of the home and discover the minor or major issues of the property – important information for any future homeowner.
Even if a home is being sold “as is”, it is worthwhile to have an inspection done so you can get an idea of what it would cost to do the needed renovations.
One strategy that buyers in highly competitive markets are employing is getting a pre-inspection. In this scenario, the buyer would pay to have an inspection done before making an offer on the property so they can know the possible fixes the property needs ahead of time and decide whether they want to move forward with an offer or not.
There are pros and cons to having a pre-inspection. First, not all sellers will agree to a pre-inspection. Second, the buyer pays for the inspection out-of-pocket and the seller may not even choose their offer to accept, causing the buyer to walk away empty-handed. However, a pro is that the inspection itself no longer is a contingency in the offer, making the sellers feel more at ease.
A buyer may be faced with a seller who indicates they have already had a professional inspection done of their property and therefore a buyer inspection is not necessary. However, I still advise buyers to have an independent inspection completed. Just because a seller may have had a pre-inspection done does not mean they have fixed all the issues the inspector found – or they may not have fixed them in a way that is up to the buyers’ standards.
Last week I was asked the following question by a potential seller:
This is actually a question that I am asked quite often. The answer is, “it depends”. I cannot give a blanket recommendation about whether or not to replace the carpet because it depends on your particular selling situation.
For example, I have seen situations where a flood of buyers came through a house, but none made an offer. The reason cited in the feedback from these buyers was that the carpet was dated and worn, and a musty smell that permeated the home was likely due to the very aged carpet. Additionally, the sellers were competing in a highly competitive market against other newer homes. In this instance, the sellers did replace the carpet and the home sold quickly.
However, I have also seen the alternative – a buyer who replaced the carpet, but it was not enough to ensure a quick sale and it lingered on the market.
I have also seen a buyer replace the carpet, only to have it torn out by the new homeowners who were going to put in hardwood floors.
The key is to look at your competition. If you are competing price and location-wise against other properties which have been updated, then an adjustment should be made. That may be by lowering the price to accommodate for the older carpet, offer a carpet allowance to the buyer, or even possibly installing new carpet.
But before you go down that road, here are two alternatives to consider:
If the structure of the carpet looks good (it isn’t loose or has worn patches), consider hiring a cleaning company to do a thorough cleaning. It may take care of the problem.
If it doesn’t take care of the problem, you could offer a carpet allowance OR you can offer to replace the carpet when you move out. In this case, you could go to places that sell carpet with a dollar amount in your mind you want to spend and your room measurements. Discuss your situation with the salesperson and pick up a few squares of carpet in a variety of colors or finishes that match your budget. Then have those there in say, the living room along with the explanation that you will be replacing the carpet with one of those samples (buyer’s choice). This way the buyer gets exactly what they are looking for and if they choose to replace with hardwood, then the price or allowance can be included at closing, and the buyer can then pay the difference and get the flooring they really want. If you have any questions, give me a call or text at 425.890.0865 or email [email protected]
Mortgage approval isn’t final until it’s funded. Things can change prior to the loan being closed that can affect a pre-approval such as changes in the borrowers’ financial situation or possibly, factors beyond their control like interest rate changes.
Good advice to buyers is to do nothing that can affect your credit report until the loan closes. Opening new credit cards, taking on new debt for a car or furniture or changing jobs could affect the lender’s decision if they believe you may no longer be able to repay the loan.
The benefits of buyer’s pre-approval are definitive: it saves time, money and removes the uncertainty of knowing whether the buyer is qualified. The direct benefits include:
Amount the buyer can borrow – decreases as interest rates rise
Looking at “Right” homes – price, size, amenities, location
Find the best loan – rate, term, type
Uncover credit issues early – time to cure possible problems
Bargaining power – price, terms, & timing
Close quicker – verification have been made
It is a very common practice for mortgage lenders to require income and bank verification and to re-run the borrowers’ credit one final time just prior to closing. Mortgage approval isn’t final until it’s funded. If you have any questions, give me a call or text at 425.890.0865 or email [email protected]