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Buying

  1. Pull your own credit report & check your score. Credit scores show your credit worthiness and ability to repay. Having a higher score translates to lower interest. The added benefit of pulling your own credit report is finding mistakes on your report before a lender sees this report. If there are mistakes on your credit report contact one of the credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion) to have the mistake corrected. Keep your credit utilization below 30%. Major factors affecting credit scores are broken down by
    • 35% Payment History
    • 30% Credit Utilization
    • 15% Length of History
    • 10% Types of Credit
    • 10% New Credit
  2. DTI – Debit to Income Ratio is a major factor on how lenders decide to make mortgage loans. Lowering your spending habits to reduce this ratio is important. Typically, 43% is maximum DTI an applicant can have to be approved for a mortgage.
  3. Get a Pre-Approval Letter. Getting pre-approved by your lender helps fast track the buying process by giving the sellers confidence in your ability to purchase a property.
  4. Save for your Down Payment. The more your down payment, the better for you. Increasing your down payment as much as possible not only helps reduce the financing requirement of your home, but may help reduce the interest a lenders charges. Typically 20-25% is ideal.
  5. Get a home inspection. Home inspectors go over every detail of the home, finding possible issues you might not have seen such as a water leak, etc. Finding possible flaws gives you the opportunity to negotiate with your offer.

Selling

  1. Start low. Find the value of your home and start it 20% below that. Potential buyers will come running bidding each other up potentially over the market value of the home. Although the risk exists, it’s the single best strategy to market a home.
  2. Clean. Clean up the house and have it show ready at any time. Take at least a third of your personal belongings and put it in storage. Organize and clean the closets, take out half of the clothes you don’t readily need and put them in storage. Consider hiring a home stager to maximize the space in the house and have it show ready.
  3. Lighting. Take down the drapes, trim the bushes, clean the windows, and install brighter bulbs. Lighting is a big factor in what buyer’s look for in a home. Do what ever it takes to make the home bright and cheery.
  4. Upgrades. Don’t over do the upgrades, you probably won’t get your money back. But do make an effort to do the small upgrades like new door handles, clean the grout, give it a fresh coat of paint, fix the leaky faucet, etc.
  5. Make the Kitchen the priority. The kitchen is typically the point that buyer’s make their offers on a home. If kitchen seems outdated, buyers could make their offer $10,000 below the asking price. Upgrade a few appliances if needed (don’t need to do all of them, just the oldest first), add new countertops and cupboard hardware, and give it a new coat of paint.
  6. The First Impression. The first impression is your only impression. If your home doesn’t have curb appeal it probably won’t sell as well. Keep it clean and show ready at all times.
  7. Find the right Broker. Having a broker who is knowledgeable and tech savvy is critical to the marketing of the home. With today’s home buyer’s who find homes online, being able target marketing to specific buyer’s will allow your home to sell quicker.