While the groundhog might have seen his shadow in early February—indicating winter was far from over—and the snow on Boston’s streets has created mountains that rival those in the Swiss Alps, the calendar says spring is around the corner (hallelujah!).
In the real estate realm, we favor the calendar over Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions, and spring is THE season; statistically, it’s when more homes are bought and sold, and accordingly, more mortgages are obtained.
If you’re planning on buying, selling, and applying for a loan this spring, you shouldn’t wait until the snow melts. Here are five things to do now to be ready for real estate season:
1) Get an inspection
Most buyers’ plans depend almost entirely on the sale of their current home; more specifically, it all depends on the price that current home will fetch. If you have your home professionally inspected before listing it, you’ll have a relatively accurate assessment of both its condition and potential, and you’ll be aware of any repairs that have to be made. Once you list it, you’ll know where you stand and will avoid surprises—especially surprises that could cost you a sale.
2) Do your research
In addition to an inspection, you’ll uncover a lot about your home’s value by researching similar properties in similar neighborhoods. At the same time, you’d be wise to research the buying market, determining where you want your next home to be, how much you can expect to spend, and what buyers are looking for. You’ll then be ready and ahead of the game when it comes time to list your home and start shopping for a new one.
3) Make improvements
In real estate, small changes can bring big profits. At the same time, it’s important not to over-invest in improvements prior to selling. Once you’ve had your home inspected (uncovering flaws and fixes) and researched similar properties, you’ll have a good feel for what needs to be changed, and what kind of upgrades can make your listing more appealing. You might find that some new kitchen fixtures and a slightly transformed outdoor space can secure a much higher asking price.
4) Get Preapproved
Considering most buyers require a mortgage, the type of home you’ll be looking for, and its price point, depend largely on the amount of loan you’re preapproved for. You might have champagne wishes, but a lender has realistic numbers, so getting preapproved for a loan is the best way to truly know how much house you can afford. You’ll also be taken more seriously as a buyer when you have a mortgage preapproval; agents and sellers will know you’re ready and able to make the next move.
While the temperatures are still frigid, the market will soon be heating up, so the time to prep and plan is now. Talk to a qualified mortgage broker and real estate agent, and you’ll have a new home once April’s showers turn to May flowers.