After President Trump extended the social distancing guidelines through at least April 30th, most Americans will continue to have more free time over the next month or so. Some people will use that extra time to do some spring cleaning, get their homes organized, and finally cross items off their never-ending to-do lists. For those of you that are waiting until the dust settles from the coronavirus outbreak to get serious about buying a new home, here are 8 things you can do now to ensure you’re well-prepared to purchase a new home when the time is right.
A full pre-approval letter that states your income, assets, and debt have been confirmed by your lender makes your offer much more attractive to sellers and their agents than just a pre-qualification letter. Take this extra time to gather your tax documents, bank statements, and pay stubs so that your lender can issue a full pre-approval. Most lenders can do a soft credit pull that won’t affect your credit score. If you need a recommendation for a good lender, ask your Trelora agent and they will be able to provide you with a few options.
Create your list of needs and wants
Reflect on what is important to you and your family and create two separate lists: Needs and Wants. Needs are things that are absolutely necessary in your new home. Wants are things that would be nice to have. Typically the Needs list doesn’t change at all over time whereas the Wants list constantly evolves as you see more and more properties online and in-person.
Have your real estate agent set you up on an MLS search
Third-party websites like Zillow, Redfin, and Realtor.com are great tools for buyers to use, but they aren’t always up-to-date and accurate. Ask your Trelora agent to set you up on a search on the multiple listing service (MLS) to ensure you never miss out on a property because of lagging or inaccurate information.
Drive around some different neighborhoods
No house will ever feel like the perfect house until you know exactly what neighborhood you want to live in. If you’re still trying to narrow down exactly what neighborhood you want to live in, set aside a few hours and drive around a few different neighborhoods to get a feel for which ones you like and don’t like. Pay close attention to their proximity to schools, work, grocery stores, etc.
Schedule virtual showings
Tour homes virtually from the comfort of your own living room. A lot of listing agents are including video tours on each of their listings. Even if a video tour is not available for a home you’re interested in, your Trelora agent can do a FaceTime showing or go to the home to record a video tour for you.
Get your current home ready
If you need to sell your current home in order to purchase a new home, take this time to get your current home ready for the market. Slap on that fresh coat of paint, clean or replace that carpet, and finish up whatever other projects you’re working on. Ask your Trelora agent if you need any help staging your home or getting it ready for photos.
Review your current lease
If you’re currently renting, find your lease and figure out what your options are as far as timing goes. Some leases allow early termination or month-to-month status after a certain amount of time. The more flexibility you have, the easier it will be for you to find your next home.
Save more for your down payment
Take all of the money you’re saving by not eating out in restaurants or going on vacations and put it in your savings account. Higher down payments are attractive to both sellers and lenders alike, so you can’t go wrong here.
Mike is the Market Director for Colorado at TRELORA. He is personally responsible for closing over 600 successful real estate transactions and has played a role in closing hundreds more. He started at TRELORA in August of 2016 and began his real estate career in Jacksonville, FL in February of 2011. In his tenure at TRELORA he has been a Buy Manager, Buy Agent, Listing Agent, and Field Agent before accepting his current position as Market Director in January of 2021. Mike has a Bachelor of Science in Finance and a Master of Science in Entrepreneurship both from the University of Florida. Go Gators!