It’s January! The dreaded January! You know, it’s the month when we make alllll these “resolutions” to which we work towards the rest of the, yeaaarrr…. Well, maybe at least the next three monnthssss…. Um, OK, let’s be honest. Most of us last about 30 days, then we are back to our normal routine and forget all about the massive goals we set for our lives this year.
Let’s make a deal, not to do that this year! 2018 is going to be amazing! Whatever that may mean to you. Maybe more time with your family? It could be setting fitness and health goals. Maybe you have a goal to stop buying so many…
Anyhow, back to my point. Goal setting and planning to reach that goal seems so normal in many aspects of our lives; yet when most people decide they want to buy a house or make a move, they have no real plan and don’t establish a real “goal.” This is important in order to make wise real estate decisions! If there is no plan, 90 percent of the time decisions will be based on emotions instead of smart choices. Never a good thing!
If moving is in your 2018 plans, here are some tips to get you started.
Decide on a timeline
How long will it take you to get your house ready to sell?
- First, consult a REALTOR®. We can help you decide what items are necessary to do and what items aren’t worth the time and money.
- Separate your projects into weeks and accomplish something small every week.
- Focus on making repairs now so they are less of an issue later because lack of maintenance will be an issue later!
How long will it take to save up enough money for your down payment?
- Consult with a mortgage company to determine how much you need to put down! The rumor that 20 percent is always needed is just that—a rumor! There are many programs that allow for less—sometimes a lot less!
- Even if you don’t need money for a down payment, you will need money for closing cost or moving expenses. Figure out how much those are so you can plan appropriately.
- Consider preparing an Excel spreadsheet to budget your family expenses. This works great to see where you can save money every month and will help you decide on how much you can comfortably afford in a new house payment as well!
When is the best time of year to buy and sell your home?
- Houses sell year-round and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But there are key factors to every home that will help you determine whether or not you should try to sell in a certain season!
- Buying a home in the summer may give you more options, but it will also give you a more competitive chance with multiple offers. If summer is your only option (to avoid the school season), know what you need to do to make sure your offer is the best to beat the competition.
Decide on a budget
The best way to do this is to visit a mortgage company to determine not only what you qualify for but also what you feel comfortable paying. Then… start paying that amount! For example: You currently pay $900/month. After your meeting with the mortgage lender, you determine you can qualify for a $1500/month payment. Spend $900 on your rent but still “spend” $600 more by cutting a check to yourself to put in a separate savings account. This will help with the down payment or moving expenses. If you can comfortably do that for a few months, you know you’ll be okay at that range when you buy. If not, then it may be time to re-evaluate the amount.
Decide on a location
Research communities and neighborhoods to help decide where you want to live.
- If school systems matter to you, tour some of the schools. Do not rely solely on online sites for school data and whether they are “good” or “bad.” Talking to school administrators, getting a good feel for the environment, will help you make a good choice for your child and your family!
- Drive through different neighborhoods at different times on different days.
- Talk with coworkers and friends about where they live and what they like or dislike.
Lastly, begin with the end in mind. How long will you stay in your future home? Will you sell it when you are ready to move or will you make it an investment property? Make sure you are buying a home that isn’t going to be hard to sell or rent. Setting yourself up to achieve long-term goals as well as current ones will ensure that you will have successful purchases and sales.
Real estate goals are important, but even more valuable is being certain you’re ready when the time comes. If 2018 is the year you want to buy or sell a home, do it! You can! And if you plan and take intentional, purposeful steps toward your end result, it may be the easiest move you’ve made yet!