New Year – New House: 5 Tips for a Head Start
If a new house is on your list for the new year, here are five tips on getting a head start:
- Be ready with a list. Ask yourself some questions. Why are you moving? Why do you want a new house? Why do you need a new house? One you have the answers, make a list of wants, needs, and deal breakers. As you make this list, you may find that you move some things around while you’re making it. That’s fine. You may decide to refine it even after you’ve looked at some houses. Just try to get it as close to perfect before you start seriously looking to purchase. The most important column is the “deal breakers.” Houses have a way of being very shiny sometimes. Buyers may overlook the lack of a garage (deal breaker) because the backyard is landscaped so nicely (shiny) but when it’s 35 degrees and they’re not sitting in shorts in the backyard, they may kick themselves for not sticking to their list. Make sure you keep your list with you and don’t even go see houses that have any of those deal breakers. You’ll thank yourself later.
- Be ready with your finances. You may be looking at snow now, but Spring and Summer is just around the corner and the housing market will be in full swing. If your market is anything like mine in the Nashville area, you MUST either have cash or be pre-approved by a reputable mortgage lender. Not only do you need to make sure you have all your finances in order, so you don’t waste your time, you need to give yourself a leg up on the competition. The more you have saved for a down payment, the better. Also, don’t underestimate the power of a local, reputable lender. There are so many options for mortgages. There are plenty of good and plenty of bad. You may want to ask local Realtors who they think has the best reputation. When you are competing for a house with other pre-approved Buyers, having a pre-approval letter from a company that is known in the community to be reliable and not miss close dates may be just the thing that pushes the Seller to take your offer over someone else’s.
- Be ready with your time. Not only do you need to have your list and your finances, you have to have time. When a house comes on the market on Wednesday, you can’t wait until the weekend to set a time to see it. You need to make sure your current schedule will allow quick appointments. Be as flexible as possible. If you aren’t someone else will be and you may lose out on the perfect house.
- Be ready with your mind. Unfortunately, I have seen too many Buyers lose out on a house that checked all the boxes on their list (see tip #1) because they weren’t mentally prepared to write an offer. Sit with your Realtor and ask as many questions as possible before you even get in the car. Do your best to be mentally prepared. It is a lot of money. It is a big decision, but as my business coach says, “If you have to sleep on it, you may not sleep in it.” You may not have the luxury of waiting until tomorrow. While you are sleeping, praying, or asking Mom & Dad, someone else may have already negotiated a deal.
- Be ready with your patience. Home buying, selling, and moving are all stressful. Be a little more mindful that you may be feeling on edge. You will be asked to fill out and sign a ton of paperwork. Everything will seem to be very urgent – and most of it probably is. Remember to breathe and think of the light at the end of the tunnel. This, too, shall pass!
Michelle Froedge is a residential Realtor and Principal Broker in the Greater Nashville and Williamson County areas of Tennessee. “Mom” to four-legged fur baby, Tyler, Auntie to Zelamie, she is a vegetarian and sings in her spare time. Michelle has lived in Nashville and Franklin since 1997 and has been selling homes since 2004.