If you’re like most people, you’re putting some things off until after the holidays. The thought of taking on anything extra this time of year feels just too hectic during the holiday rush, such as the process of buying or selling a house.

This is the time of year many people set New Year’s Resolutions, such as new fitness goals, a healthier diet, or a financial plan. Whether buying or selling a house is a dream or yours or a necessity, making it a resolution for the New Year can motivate you to get started. And breaking the process down into smaller steps can make the process less overwhelming.

Resolutions for Sellers

Make a plan: For many people, selling a home also involves buying another one at the same time. If this is the case, timing is everything. Most people can’t (or would rather not!) pay two mortgages at once while waiting for a home to sell. Some people choose to sell first and stay with family or friends, or in a short term rental, until purchasing their next home. Whatever your circumstances, it’s important to first set a course and establish a timeline.

Interview real estate brokers: After you’ve made a plan, the next step anyone should take in selling home is to enlist the help of a professional. A good real estate broker will guide you through the entire process of staging your home and negotiating with buyers. This will alleviate a lot of stress and prevent costly mistakes. You’ll be working closely with your broker, so interview several, and consider personality fit as well as experience.

Get your home ready: When showing your home, buyers need to be able to picture themselves living there. That’s hard to do if you have a lot of clutter, and even worse—dirt! At this stage, you’re probably pretty serious about moving, so now is a good time for preliminary packing to store away personal items and décor. After you’ve organized and decluttered, neutralizing odors should also be a consideration. Fresh paint is a sure fix for this. If in doubt, your trusted Realtor® will be able to help you with home staging.

Resolutions for Home Buyers

Review your finances: First things first—can you afford to buy right now? And if so, how much house can you afford? Once you calculate the monthly payment that best fits your budget, you should have an idea of your approximate price range. How much money you have set aside for down payment will also affect the monthly payment, so factor this in also. But if you weren’t able to save for the down payment due to other circumstances, don’t give up. There are several zero-down and down payment assistance programs worth checking into.

Check your credit
: Some people may not know you can pull a free credit report once a year. This is a great way to stay informed about your credit score and also check for errors. Going into the financing phase of buying a home knowing your credit is “good to go” will give you peace of mind and also prevent some unexpected delays. Knowing your credit score is also a predictor of your mortgage interest rate.

Get pre-approved: Unless you have cash in hand, you’re going to need financing to buy a home. After you’ve gotten your finances and credit in order, the next step is to get mortgage pre-approval. Having the pre-approval in hand is when it all gets real! Now you know what price range you’re approved for. You’re no longer just dreaming of buying a home—you can officially start shopping. This is also when you should interview Realtors to find the best one to represent you during the buying process.

If buying or selling a home is your resolution for 2019, please don’t hesitate to contact Rowena and know you’re in good hands when you “Go With Ro.”

Have a very happy and prosperous New Year!

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