Whether you plan to buy or sell a home this year, here are a few real estate resolutions you might want to consider.
Buyers: Get Your Financial House in Order. Purchasing a home takes planning and plenty of time and effort.
- One of the first things you should consider is meeting with a mortgage professional early in the year. Getting pre-approved will determine what you can afford.
- Know your credit score and understand what your financial situation looks like from a lender’s perspective.
- If you have credit issues, identify what they are and take the necessary steps to correct them. Sometimes it can take six months to see your FICO score move up the much-needed 20 points to get you a better mortgage rate.
Sellers: Get others to see the house as their potential home, not yours. The key to achieving this is to de-personalize and de-clutter.
- Put away family photos, sports trophies, collectible items, knick-knacks, and souvenirs.
- Clean and organize closets.
- When it comes to preparing a house, painting gives you the best return for money spent.
- At the very least all carpeting needs to be steam cleaned. Any worn, stained or foul smelling carpet should be replaced. Any flooring that is cracked or damaged should be replaced, if possible.
- Clean the fixtures and make sure the bulbs work.
- Replace any cracked windows.
Everybody: Work out a weekly system for keeping your house clean. In today’s busy world it isn’t easy to have the perfectly decorated, super organized house we see in magazines and on television. However, there are a few things you can do that will greatly improve its appearance.
- Put the dishes in the dishwasher every night – no excuses!
- Dirty clothes go in the hamper and jackets or clean clothes are hung in the closet.
- Bring everything back to its assigned place.
- Keep all your cleaners, as well as rubber gloves and spare cleaning cloths in a portable carryall that moves with you from room to room.
- Stash cleaning implements such as a toothbrush, scraper, sponge, a few cleaning cloths and plastic bags in a builder’s apron that you wear when you clean. Hook your glass cleaner and all-purpose cleaning spray on the loops to keep your hands free as you work around the room clockwise, cleaning from high (cabinets) to low (floors.)
- Focus on one type of cleaning at a time. It’s faster. Wipe down fingerprints on all of the cabinets, for instance, before moving on to spraying and wiping counters. Then move on to windows and mirrors and appliances. Once that’s done move on to sweeping and then mopping floors.
- For optimum efficiency, enlist the help of your family. If you can, divide the jobs among at least three parties: One of you can do the dusting/vacuuming and changing beds, the other can do the bathroom cleanup, leaving only the kitchen and trash emptying for you to handle. The upside? You can get the whole house done in 45 minutes.