The year is almost ready to enter its second quarter, and already the 2015 real estate market is becoming quite interesting. With another year of improving economic news, growing housing demand and other healthy signs, the National Association of Home Builders is predicting that 2015 will be even better than last year, especially in the area of single-family home sales.
What should you be doing to maximize your advantages, as both a buyer and seller, in 2015? Here’s a glimpse of what Bankrate thinks you should keep in mind while shopping for a home, or selling one:
- Sellers should remember that the little things count a lot. Welcome mats, nicely trimmed shrubbery, neat walkways, dust-free furniture and fixtures, uncluttered closets, sparkling toilets, and similar minutiae can be massive deal-makers or deal-breakers in the eyes of many potential buyers. This is a situation where you definitely want to “sweat the small stuff,” contrary to the popular saying.
- Buyers should make a pro/con checklist of every home they visit. The human brain tends to meld details together, so this is one time that meticulous notes will serve you well. Think about using a 1-through-10 rating scale to evaluate features that are important to you, like kitchen amenities, roof integrity and plumbing quality.
- Potential buyers should drive through the neighborhood at least three times, at different times of the day, to get a feel for the area. Use the Internet to research the locality, learning about schools, retail establishments, safety and special features like parks and fire stations.
- Sellers should use the season to their advantage. For example, is you are showing your home during the summer, emphasize the patio and open areas. During the hot months, a fruit basket or a large vase of flowers will brighten the kitchen or family room. During winter, put up a few photos you took of your home during the spring and summer. That way, potential buyers will see some greenery even if you are selling during the depths of winter!
Don’t ever enter the real estate market without all the facts. Educate yourself about the prevailing economic conditions, what the experts say, and keep a list of exactly what you are looking for in a new home. That way, you will be ready to find the home that best suits your desires and financial parameters. Happy shopping!