The Spring Housing Market is Right Around the Corner

If you plan on entering the market as a prospective buyer there are many things you can do to prepare for the spring market. You should begin saving for a down payment and get pre-approved for a loan so you know how much house you can afford.

Check Your Credit Report
You’ll want to have your credit in good shape before applying for a mortgage loan. A credit report will provide a history of your credit, spending and payment activity, bad debts and any late payments. Obtain a copy of your credit report to make sure it’s accurate and reconcile any errors immediately. Make sure you’re using credit cards responsibly. Create a spending budget and don’t exceed the limit. Keep up with your monthly payments, and make sure to pay them on time.

Know the Costs and Begin to Save
The larger the down payment you can put on a house the less interest you will have to pay in the long run. Ideally, you should have 20% of the purchase price saved as a down payment, but that amount is not always necessary – depending on your situation there are still some no down payment programs and others that require as little as 5% down. Also, don’t forget to factor in closing costs — including taxes, attorney’s fee, and transfer fees — averaging between 2-7% of the home price. Also don’t forget that homeownership includes paying property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and association fees, if applicable. Start saving extra money for these costs ahead of time by setting up a special savings account and make regular deposits

Get Pre-Approved For a Loan
How large of a mortgage will you qualify for? Get familiar with the market and explore different loan options — such as 30- year or 15-year fixed mortgages or ARMs. Your loan officer will help you decide what plan is best for you. In order to get preapproved for your mortgage loan your loan officer will need the following documentation from you: W2 Statements as well as your Federal Tax returns for the past two years, bank statements from the last two months, recent pay stubs, and proof of any other income.

Research the market
Start researching where you want to live. This may shorten the length of your house hunting later on and also get you focused on what exactly you’re looking for. This will also get you prepared for what styles of housing and what neighborhoods you will be able to afford.

Prepare to List Your Home
The spring housing market is a great time to jump in if you’re planning on buying or selling. Last year we had an early spring so now is a great time to start preparing your home for the busy buying season! If you’re planning on listing your home you could begin to de-clutter, make necessary repairs, and begin to set the stage for prospective buyers. There is a lot you can do to improve the look of your home without investing a great deal of money. Fresh and clean are still the fundamentals in making a good first impression when potential buyers walks through the door. Unless a particular window is facing an eyesore or a neighboring building, open the drapes and let the sun shine in! If you have pets, arrange a sitter so they are not distracting potential buyers, and temporarily remove their belongings when it comes to showings to keep the area odor free and clutter free. Begin to depersonalize your home and open up your space by de-cluttering. You will want to remove excess furniture for easy traffic flow and remove knickknacks and personal photos. When a room is open it will look larger which is something buyers are always looking for. If you have rooms that are not being used for anything specific, stage it into an office or a craft room to give potential buyers an idea of what they could do with that room. Another space you want to de-clutter is the closets. Buyers want to see that there will be enough room to hold their belongings. Remember, you can’t change a first impression. If your home looks like a diamond in the rough, think about putting a small investment into cleaning up the outward appearance – you will most certainly see the results when real estate agents and homebuyers start knocking. •