Tips for Homebuyers and Sellers in 2017

Homeowners enjoyed double-digit price growth in the first half of 2016, greatly exceeding experts’ predictions of a year ago and even settling into pre-recession values in many markets. Though there was some softening in the second half, sellers remain in their element and are turning the screws on anxious buyers who fear further price spikes and escalating interest rates. New-construction home sales are up, previously underwater properties are in positive equity again and investors are turning their attention to “secondary markets” to find value. Economists expect house prices to rise another 4 percent to 5 percent in 2017, meaning remaining bargains will get even more sparse.

Homebuyers Tricks and Tips to Maximize Your Cash Flow in 2017

With that in mind, here are 10 tips befitting the up-market of 2017.

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Homebuyers vs Sellers: Jump-Start the Process

You may be an avowed procrastinator, but if you want to sell a house this year, start planning now. The process, say sellers, always takes longer than expected. So get your home inspected now; there may be unseen major repairs to address. Declutter, clean closets and shelves, store extraneous possessions and furnishings and other stuff that might keep sellers from picturing themselves in your space. Attend an open house or two to get an idea of how to stage yours. And move along: Owners still waiting for the market to peak should beware that this real estate cycle may be shorter-lived than last.

 

Homebuyers vs Sellers: Be Credit-Ready

There’s a lot of competition out there for homes, so tarry not. Get your credit report and start repairing any blips. If your scores are below 620 or so, a conventional loan will be a challenge. But if they’re under 740, you still might not get the best rates. Many buyers get a pre-qualification letter from the lender, but you can one-up them with a pre-approval, which comes after a more thorough evaluation of your finances. A pre-approval letter shows the seller that you’re good to go and can close quickly. Homebuyers be ready.

Homebuyers vs Sellers: Vet Your Real Estate Agent, Then Follow The Agent’s Advice

Sellers lose time and money by hiring poorly. Interview several potential agents. You’ll want a full-timer who is Web savvy and uses mobile technology, because at least 4 in 5 homebuyers view their homes first online. Your agent should be a proven performer in your submarket and be willing to walk you through the financial aspects of your deal. The more the agent knows about schools, commutes and other local details, the better. Once vetted, accept your agent’s advice on pricing, marketing and negotiation.

Homebuyers vs Sellers: Adjust Your Negotiating Expectations

Lowball offers are off the table in this environment and could eliminate you from consideration. Respond to counteroffers quickly to keep other buyers from entering the picture; you don’t want to encourage a bidding war. If one breaks out, be prepared to get fewer concessions and pay more money. And have a few other homes in mind so you can be willing to walk away if the price soars.