How to Prepare Yourself for Spring Homebuying Season

How to Prepare Yourself for Spring Homebuying Season
Topics Affordable Mortgage ProgramsBuilding Homebuying TeamFirst-Time Homebuyer

Spring is just around the corner and can be peak season to buy or sell your home.

But before you’re ready to make a move, it is important to do your research and homework so you’re ready when the time is right.

Here are tips to help buyers and sellers prepare for the spring homebuying season.

Tips for Home Buyers

Purchasing a home in recent years has presented buyers with numerous obstacles, such as bidding wars, rising interest rates and housing prices, but there are things you can do to put your best foot forward, including:

  • Identify Your Lender: Sit down with your lender or a trusted financial advisor to review your finances to help you determine how much home you can afford. Look for a lender who knows the area and has local decision-making. Work closely with your lender to get pre-approved so you’re prepared in an often rapidly moving market as well as to identify any programs they may have for affordable mortgages or first-time homebuyers.
  • Get Started Early: This will give you a chance to get a head start on the competition. The housing market can move quickly, so make sure you know the key dos and don’ts of the mortgage process, such as having your documents ready and watching your credit usage.
  • Prepare Your Downpayment: While interest rates are expected to moderate slightly this year, it is important to focus on what you can control like having your downpayment built up. This can help decrease the size of the loan and the impact of interest. You can also look to buy points to reduce your interest rate.
  • Know Your Needs and Wants: Focus on your top needs and wants when viewing potential homes and avoid letting “nice to haves” impact your decision.
  • Consider Building Your Dream Home: New home construction has increased over the past year or so, which can help alleviate some housing inventory issues. Building a new home can provide the features you want with more cost certainty.

Tips for Home Sellers

For those who are ready to make a move, there are steps you can take to prepare yourself and your home, including:

  • Put a Plan in Place: This should include identifying your lender and real estate agent, and ensuring your finances are in a place to handle any fees and other out-of-pocket costs you’ll incur throughout the process. If you’re looking to purchase another house at the same time, you’ll also need to factor in the money you will need for the purchase and if you need the proceeds from the sale of your current home for the new one. Your lender and real estate agent should be able to assist you with contingencies, timelines and options to help the process go smoothly.
  • Get Your House Ready for Viewing: You want your house to make a strong first impression, and a few easy ways to do this are to spruce up your yard and landscaping, power wash driveways and walkways, deep clean the interior of the house, and make any needed repairs or touchups for things like paint, furniture hardware and fixtures. Talking with your real estate agent can be a good way to get tips on areas to focus on improvements to maximize your value.
  • Decide if it is Worth the Move: Buying and selling homes are typically some of the largest purchases most consumers make in their lives. Take your time to evaluate if moving is worth the cost and stress or if you can add features you desire to your existing home by leveraging a home equity line of credit (HELOC).

The spring homebuying season is ready to heat up with the weather, so regardless of if you’re a buyer, a seller or both, doing your homework up front can ensure you’re ready to go when you find your dream home. Regardless of where you are in the process, speaking with your lender regularly is a good way to evaluate your various financing options and keep your house hunting on track.

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