Spring is the “magic window,” when sellers want to list homes and buyers have more choices than other times of the year when there are fewer homes on the market. Here are some tips to put yourself in the best position for success.
Tips for Sellers
Make a good first impression: The exterior of your home is the first thing buyers see, whether they’re viewing it in person or scrolling through photos online. Sparkling curb appeal lets buyers know that a home has been taken care of.
Improve yourself from the inside: According to Zillow Research, 73% of sellers make at least one improvement before selling. Kitchen renovations, though common, are among the worst return on investment according to a Zillow study. Instead, stick with mid-range bathroom remodels — add a double sink and replace the toilet, tub and light fixtures, but steer clear of top-end features.
Flaunt your features: Zillow analysis finds homes touting ‘steam ovens’ and ‘professional appliances,’ in for-sale listings sold for significantly more than similar homes, while ‘pizza ovens’ and ‘wine cellars’ command a higher premium in starter homes.
Make the experience virtual: These days, sellers and their agents can provide buyers with an interactive online experience that’s more immersive than pictures alone. And creating a virtual tour is easier and more affordable than ever.
Create an opening: As soon as your home goes on the market, one of the first things your real estate agent will recommend is hosting an open house. It’s your home’s big first impression, so it’s worth spending some time to prepare.
Consider a new alternative. The traditional route may not work for all sellers, and new alternatives give them more options. Zillow Offers lets sellers skip the hassle with a free, no-obligation cash offer, so they can get into their next home on their timeline — no prep work, showings or open houses required.
Tips for Buyers
Prioritize your search: 83% of home buyers say staying within an initial budget is highly important, according to the Zillow Consumer Housing Trends Report 2019. That’s one reason why you want to be clear on your priorities. If you don’t narrow down what you’re looking for, you could waste a lot of time — yours and your agent’s — touring homes that aren’t right for you.
Pick your team: Your real estate agent and your lender can be your biggest allies. You’ll want to start searching for these professionalswhen you’re first thinking about buying a home, and definitely before you start looking at properties.
Get mortgage ready: When shopping for a home, a higher credit score can help you qualify for a lower interest rate, which could save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage. If your credit score is on the low end, be aware that mortgage interest rates on different loan products — offered to otherwise similar borrowers — can often vary dramatically, so it may pay to shop around.
Pick a down payment: Saving for a down payment remains a major hurdle for many Americans on their path to homeownership. Although a 20% down payment is considered ideal, it’s not actually as common as you might think — nor is it necessary for buying a home.
Reduce first-timer stress: Knowing what to expect can reduce some of that anxiety and help you confidently find your way to your new home. To help, here’s a step-by-step guide to the home-buying process.