Tulips are beginning to show their happy faces, and the weather is turning warmer — sure signs that spring is here. With the longer days of sunshine generally come a jump in the inventory of homes for sale and, at the same time, more people are looking to find that special property to buy.
On the seller side, with more homes for sale, that means there’s more competition and you’ve got to complete a laundry list of tasks to make the house appealing. On the buyer side, the spring boost in inventory most likely won’t change the general housing shortage this year due to fewer homes being built, worsened by pandemic-related supply chain problems.
A typical home spends just 61 days on the market, and the typical home price — $381,000 — is up 26% from 2020. You’ll need to be savvy as you approach financing early in the year as a result. Both sellers and buyers can have a great experience if they’re mindful of a few key points.
Get Organized To Deal With Service Competition
Simple rules of supply and demand apply to all professional services involved with your home sale. With more homeowners trying to get their properties on the market and close deals, real estate agents, repair companies, landscapers, movers, appraisers, mortgage professionals and photographers are all going to have less availability. It can also be challenging to get all of these professionals scheduled around other realities of your life, such as the end of the school year if you have kids or booking an early vacation. You have to be able to consider any offers you get on the home quickly, as well.
Getting organized can help you overcome these difficulties. The earlier you schedule all of your appointments, the more options you’ll have about who you work with. Early scheduling can also mean that professionals don’t charge you their premium rates. It’ll give you more flexibility to make alternative arrangements if you run into snags.
One caveat here is that, if you’ve had your home on the market for a while, it can be beneficial to take it off the market for just a little while. Prospective buyers respond to how long a listing has been up. They can have a tendency to be warier about homes that have been available but not sold. Relisting your property provides a reset so they can see the property with fresh eyes.
Maximize Curb Appeal
Much of selling a home comes down to improving aesthetics. All of the things you would do in the winter to increase visual appeal still apply in the spring. This includes thoroughly decluttering and cleaning the house, giving the interior a fresh coat of neutral-colored paint, and sprucing it up with simple updates like new light fixtures.
Warmer weather adds jobs to this basic list. It opens up options for how to decorate or make fixes, and at the same time, there are more daylight hours for people to thoroughly see and explore the exterior of the property. Address elements like painting the exterior of the home and landscaping to make the property more inviting.
Another easy job for your list is to add seasonal color; you don’t even need a green thumb for this — go to a local nursery for planters of whatever is in season and offers a vibrant pop of color for buyers looking at the space. A good power wash can be helpful; make sure windows and mirrors sparkle, too. Deal with any maintenance issues, such as installing new eaves or repairing a crack in the walkway. Pay especially careful attention to the path to the door, as this space has a huge influence on drawing people inside.
How To Be Financially Ready for Spring Home Purchase
As a buyer, your first order of business when considering a spring home purchase is to get your financial records in order. These include documents like your tax returns, bank statements and pay stubs. Your lender needs all of these records to get a granular view of your financial situation and to determine if you’re able to handle the loan.
Once you’ve got your records, look at them through the lender’s eyes. They’re going to need to understand any issues, such as a gap in your employment, problems with your credit profile or inconsistency between records. If they find out you weren’t truthful, the likelihood they’ll approve your loan will plummet. So adopt honesty as your best policy.
Remember, lenders love consistency. They will continue to verify your financial story right to the bitter end of the loan approval to ensure nothing has changed. So as tempting as it might be to switch jobs or buy a bunch of new items for the property, don’t do it. Don’t make any large deposits or withdrawals, because any shifts could jeopardize the loan.
Lastly, shop around for your lender. Ask your real estate agent for recommendations, get in touch with your local credit union and get quotes from one of the national consumer lending firms. Once you’ve got some numbers that give you a sense of who has the cheapest credit, go back to the firms you had the best rapport with. You might be able to get them to match or beat other offers.
It’s unquestionably a seller’s market. Buyers have to approach financing well for success. On the other hand, spring adds activities and hurdles for sellers. They have to do more work to make their properties as appealing as possible during this more competitive period of the year. The key for both buyers and sellers is to plan in advance and find professionals you can trust through the process. If you organize yourself well and strive for transparent relationships with experts, you’ll inevitably work out a deal you can feel satisfied with.