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Buyers and Sellers: Essential Tips for the Spring Real Estate Season

April is in the past.

For tax professionals, spring means they can finally relax. For anyone involved in the real estate industry, it’s time to get moving!

More people, both buyers and sellers, will jump into the real estate market in spring and early summer, so whether you are going to purchase or sell, make sure you are prepared for the spring real estate season with these essential tips.

Spring Real Estate Season: Buyers

For someone looking to purchase a home, the spring season is all about preparing your finances, getting the proper paperwork, and visiting lenders for the initial steps required for a mortgage loan…

Organize Your Finances

The first steps you should take is to organize your finances so you have a clear, concrete understanding of how much you can afford. While we all have a general understanding of how much we earn and how much we spend on a monthly basis, few people have a detailed understanding of their financial picture.

Sit down and list your take-home income, then factor in all of your expenses. What you have left should give you an understanding of what you can afford in a monthly mortgage. When you have a more detailed understanding, you’ll be able to enter the real-estate-buying process with greater confidence.

Create a List of Needs and Wants

When you have your budget, you can start listing the various features and characteristics you want from a home. Try to focus on things that can’t easily be changed. For example, you may prioritize a home in a good school district, which is something you can’t change after you buy. However, you may want real wood floors in the kitchen, but if you find a quality home without them, you can install wood flooring later.

Create your list of things you need and want so you can narrow down your search once you start actively looking at houses.

Get Pre-Qualified, Pre-Approved

You know your budget and you know your needs from a house, so now it’s time to contact lenders and start the process towards a high-quality home, and that begins with pre-qualification. Getting pre-qualified for a mortgage loan shows sellers and real estate agents that you are serious about the process and are motivated to buy. By getting pre-qualified, you’ll have a rough estimate of how much the bank is willing to lend.

You’ll also want to get pre-approved for a loan, as this is a more official statement from the lender, giving you documents that you can show to sellers and real estate agents. This further emphasizes your commitment to buying and will open more opportunities.

Contact a Buyer’s Agent

Unless you are a trained professional in real estate, having a buyer’s agent to assist with the process is crucial. A buyer’s agent can help with negotiations, showings, finding available houses, and can generally provide quality advice on the entire process. Having a buyer’s agent on your side is especially important in a competitive, rapid market like San Diego, where home prices are high and property rarely stays on the market for an extended time.

Spring Real Estate Season: Sellers

If you’re selling your home this spring, you need to be prepared with a good plan and a clean, attractive house. There are steps you can take to prepare the home for buyers, increasing your chances of not only getting a good price, but selling the home quickly.

Throughout everything, remember that people buy on emotion just as much as logic. Just like buying a car or a pack of gum, much of the decision is made on emotion, and these tips help create better emotional connections between your home and potential buyers.

Clean and Trim the Yard

In the real estate profession, there is a term called “curb appeal.” Essentially, how your home looks from the curb can make a huge difference on the appeal of a house, so do your best to make the home presentable and attractive. You don’t have to invest in large-scale landscaping; simply picking up sticks and kid’s toys from the yard, trimming bushes, and mowing the grass can make a big difference.

Planting flowers is a great way to prepare for the spring real estate season.

If you have time, planting a few colorful flowers will help you increase the home’s curb appeal and send the message that you honestly care about the home, which implies you cared for it throughout the years.

Remove or Reduce Personal Items and Clutter

Buyers need to imagine themselves living in the home, and that’s hard to do when you have pictures of your wedding, personal knick-knacks, and clutter laying about the home. Put away as many personal items as possible and open the rooms by removing a few furniture items.

Personal items can include wedding and baby photos, book collections, religious items, and material related to your personal hobby. For example, you might think a trophy sailfish looks great in the basement lounge area, but some buyers might find it tacky, which pulls from their attraction to the home.

When you have less items in a room, the space will seem larger, making it more attractive to buyers. Extra tables and chairs create clutter, but removing them makes it more spacious and allows the buyer to picture their own things in the space.

Clean the Interior Thoroughly

A thorough cleaning and dusting of the interior can go a long ways. By removing dust and other grime you make the home more attractive and, like the curb appeal, send the message that the home has been cared for. Think of this as your spring cleaning, and make sure all areas of the home are addressed. Wipe and polish the hardwood floors, vacuum or shampoo the carpets, dust the corners of the house, and clean and sanitize the bathrooms.

Serving Your Mortgage Needs All Through Year!

Winter, spring, summer or fall, if you are planning to purchase a home this year, get started by working with a high-quality mortgage team. We take a common-sense approach to real estate lending, and we’ll do what it takes to get you pre-approved for a high-quality loan!


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Chad Baker, CrossCountry Mortgage   
NMLS# 329451 | CCM NMLS# 3029