What to Do if You Want to Move to a New Home in 2017

The start of a new year is a time when many of us think about what we want to do differently with our lives. It’s also when we set goals we want to accomplish before the end of the year. Some people decide to go to the gym. Others take up running. Many more retire or switch careers.

Maybe none of that appeals to you. Maybe you’ve got something else on your mind like moving to a new home, upsizing for your growing family or downsizing as the nest empties out. If this is you, here’s what you need to do to get yourself ready.

Getting Ready to Sell

Before you sign a listing agreement or take a few dozen photos of your home, here are a few things you’ll need to do to get your home ready to sell in the next few weeks or even months.

Clear out your clutter. Go through closets, look under the beds, and crawl into the attic, but get rid of the stuff you don’t want and haven’t thought about in years. Not only will you have less to pack when you move, you’ll give yourself more storage space to put away things that don’t need to be seen during a showing.

Start making repairs. We all have that one creaky step or that weird spot on the wall that we say we’ll fix “someday.” Congratulations – someday has arrived! The more small repairs you can make now, the less you’ll have to do when you’re ready to put your home on the market. Instead of having a giant to-do list that feels overwhelming, you can go at your own pace and tackle one or two projects a week.

Spruce things up. New paint, new carpet, or a deep clean will do wonders for your home, even if you don’t put it on the market for months. Mulch, trim trees, pressure wash the driveway and walkways, and do things to make your home look even more appealing to potential buyers. Like the repairs, doing it now allows you to work at your own pace instead of the frenzied rush many sellers get into the week or so before they know pictures need to be taken for the listing. 

Getting Ready to Buy

Like many others, your search for a new home will happen while your current home is up for sale. The more you can do to get yourself ready to buy, the less stressed you’ll feel once you start your search. Take care of these things now before you call a Realtor.

  • Check your credit and deal with anything negative. This may mean paying old debt or disputing errors.
  • Check your credit score to get an idea of whether you have a low or high score. Your score impacts the type of mortgage you qualify for and your interest rate.
  • Pay down as much debt as possible. If you pay a credit card off, don’t close the account. Having a zero balance on an active account is better than having one less account.
  • Don’t take on any new debt if you can help it. Save the new car loan or the store credit card offer until after you buy.
  • Be honest about your budget and your savings. If you want to move up to a larger (and more expensive) home, make sure you can really afford the change.
  • Talk to several mortgage lenders. Ask about the loan programs they offer. Don’t worry about getting pre-approved until you feel ready to start looking but get the information so you have an idea of how financing will work for you.

If you do a little preparation up front before you start the serious task of listing your current home and looking for a new one, the process will be much smoother. When you’ve done everything you can to get ready, contact a Realtor who can answer your questions, give advice on the value and marketability of your home, and even refer you to a good agent if you’re moving out of the area.

Make 2017 the year you found the next new home of your dreams!

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