On February 12th, while sports fans will be rooting for their favorite team to win, savvy homebuyers and sellers should use this occasion to get ahead of the spring homebuying season. Spring might seem far away, but potential buyers and sellers tend to start getting ready now. With just a few simple tips, you can make sure you won’t fumble during this upcoming real estate season, but instead, tackle it with confidence!
The clock is ticking
With mortgage rates finally beginning to drop and many listing prices lower than last year’s peak, potential homebuyers are thinking 2023 might be their chance to score their dream home. If you’re a buyer, that means you’ll want to be prepared by getting your paperwork together for a loan preapproval, making that initial connection with a real estate agent, and putting together a list of must-haves.
For sellers, now’s the time to plan the necessary repairs and clean-up tasks you’ll need to ready your home for those listing photos. You should also use this time to draft your real estate “quarterback”—that’s the real estate agent who will be in your huddle to plan the big moves! Just like a football team’s MVP, your real estate agent can mean the difference between a big win (a quick sale above the listing price) and losing big time.
Here’s everything you need to know:
Buyers should get their finances in order and obtain a loan preapproval (good for 90 days)
Getting preapproved for a home loan, even if you aren’t 100% sure you’re going to purchase a home in the next 90 days, should be the first thing you do if you think homeownership will be in your future.
A loan preapproval will tell you how much home you can realistically afford. At this time the lender will also tell you about any home buyer programs that can reduce your loan expenses or make a more expensive home more affordable. For instance, many first-time home buyers may be eligible for government and community mortgage programs that offer lower interest rates, cash grants for closing costs, forgivable loans for down payments, and other homebuying incentives.
With a preapproval letter on hand, your real estate agent will know exactly what your budget is, and you’ll be able to make an offer as soon as the perfect home hits the market.
What’s the process for getting preapproved for a home loan?
1. Gather Financial Information: Before you start the preapproval process, you should gather all of your financial information including bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, and any other documents that will help to demonstrate your ability to repay a loan. If you’re a remote worker and moving to a different city or state, you’ll need a letter from your employer stating that you will continue to remain employed even after your move.
2. Contact Lenders: Once you have gathered all of your documentation, begin contacting lenders who can provide preapprovals. You should shop around with different lenders in order to get the best rate and terms available for your specific situation. Trying to get the lowest mortgage rate possible? Check out our tips.
3. Submit an Application: When applying for a preapproval, most lenders will require you to submit an application along with supporting documentation such as income verification and credit reports from all three major bureaus (Experian, TransUnion & Equifax). This allows them to assess your current creditworthiness so they can determine how much they can loan you.
4. Receive Preapproval Letter: If you’re approved, the lender will issue a formal letter stating that you are approved up to a certain amount for financing on a property purchase or refinance transaction. This is known as a preapproval letter, and it’s valid for 90 days.
Though contemplating finances may not sound like the most exciting thing to do on Super Bowl weekend, consider getting that loan preapproval the first week of February so you can scroll home listings with your friends during that Super Bowl party before the game begins!
Sellers should start getting their properties ready
Home sellers looking to sell this spring should take a proactive approach to getting a home ready for the market. Since much of this preparation involves decluttering and beautifying, the week before your big Super Bowl party is a great time to get started—that way all your friends and neighbors will get to enjoy your festivities while your home is looking its best!
Start with cleaning, repairs, and upgrades
Decluttering and depersonalizing your home can make the property feel larger and more inviting to potential buyers. Use this time to also address any minor repairs such as patching holes and fixing or replacing leaky faucets. Upgrading cabinet hardware is also an inexpensive way to create a more polished look, while putting fresh mulch in your yard is one of the most cost-effective ways to add appeal to your landscaping. A few new plants and shrubs will also add color without breaking the bank.
If it’s time for a repaint, look into trending but neutral colors. Consider staging your home with modern decor so that buyers are able to envision themselves living there. Finally, deep cleaning is essential before listing so that prospective buyers are presented with an immaculate space from top-to-bottom. Taking these steps will help ensure that you get the most out of your listing and open house.
Both buyers and sellers should connect with a real estate agent right away
Engaging with a real estate agent early on is the winning move for both home buyers and sellers. Agents know the local market and can let you know about hot homes before they’re listed or they can connect you with the perfect buyer before your home even goes on the market. An experienced real estate agent is like a great coach who can help you work through all the strategies of buying and selling, so you don't get sacked by any unexpected surprises. Whether it's kicking off your search, or scoring the ideal price when selling, having an agent on your team can mean the difference between success and failure. So don't fumble this opportunity—make sure to connect with an agent before Sunday’s big game!
Ready to score a real estate touchdown?
If you’re feeling like you need a game plan or want to talk about your individual goals, our team is here for you. As seasoned real estate agents, we can answer any queries and guide you through all 100 yards of your real estate experience.