Updated: Apr 16, 2020
The first snowdrops are popping up around town. You know what that means, right? It means the spring housing market is nearly here. If you want to buy or sell a home this year, it’s time to get ready.
We mean it!
Buyers: get pre-approved
If you’re thinking about buying and need a loan, get a pre-approval letter as soon as possible. The process is relatively simple.
First, find a lender. Not sure who to ask for your pre-approval? Check out our list of recommended lenders and brokers.There’s no commitment to stay with this lender for the actual mortgage process; you simply need to confirm that you are able to borrow a certain amount of money. The application itself can be done in person or over the phone and takes about 5–10 minutes.
What you’ll need:
Name and address
SS#—You’ll often need to authorize the lender to do a credit check
Proof of income/employment, such as a pay stub or tax return
Tax docs—usually only if self-employed
Bank statements—most recent if possible
This process can be completed in a day or two, and then you’re ready to start looking at homes to buy.
Sellers: declutter your house
It can often take 1–3 months to prepare a home for sale.
Liz and I have sold scores of homes, so we know how to make a home appeal to potential buyers. We guide each owner through this “getting ready” time period; some need just our handy checklist, while others benefit from more intense involvement. Read this great guest blog by our friend Kathy Vines from Clever Girl Organizing to get you inspired.
Here are the basics:
Clear all surfaces (countertops in kitchen and bathrooms, fridge, bureaus, etc)
Remove family photographs and depersonalize the home
Eliminate piles of paper, mail, clothes and so on (think “a place for everything, and everything in its place”)
Clear out the attic, basement, and closets
Once your house is decluttered, you are ready to stage it. A decluttered house is also much easier to pack up once you sell it, so remember there’s a short-term and a long-term benefit to decluttering.