In 2023, the median U.S. existing home sale price reached a record high of $389,800, per the National Association of Realtors. If you’re hoping to take advantage of today’s higher home prices, then you may be gearing up to sell your home this spring.
Spring tends to be a more favorable time to list a home than winter. You’re less likely to encounter weather-related hiccups, and you might have a much easier time showing off your home’s curb appeal.
But if you’re serious about a spring listing, there are steps you should take in the coming weeks to make that happen. Here are five to focus on.
1. Find a good real estate agent
Selling a home on your own could be more work than you’ve bargained for. If you want the process to go smoothly and you want to increase your chances of walking away with the most favorable sale price, then it could pay to enlist the help of a seasoned real estate agent.
Real estate agents who are high in demand might book up during the spring, though. So the time to start interviewing candidates for the job is now.
You can start by asking people in your neighborhood who have sold a home recently for recommendations and take it from there. Or, if you had a good experience with the real estate agent who helped you buy your home, see if they’re available to help sell it.
2. Assess your home for damage and come up with a budget for repairs
Your home might need work before it’s ready to be sold. Make a list of repairs now and set a budget for each one so you know which to prioritize.
If your living room flooring looks worn, fixing it might cost $3,000. So might putting in new carpeting in your basement. But since your living room is likely a more prominent spot, if you can’t afford both projects, you’ll know which one to focus on.
3. Make interior repairs sooner rather than later
Once spring arrives and the weather warms up, you may find yourself busy doing things like painting your fence or staining your deck. So now’s a good time to tackle interior repairs that don’t require warm weather to get the job done.
Fix or replace the leaky faucets you’ve been ignoring, or repaint your downstairs bathroom if its walls have seen better days. You’ll be thankful for having gotten the work done once you get busy with outdoor jobs.
4. Come up with a home-buying budget
You’ll need a place to live once you sell your home. Take the time to figure out how much you can afford to spend on a new home, keeping in mind today’s mortgage rates. Also, if you’re moving towns and/or upsizing, your property tax bill might increase. Crunch the numbers to see what’s doable.
It might help to find a real estate agent before coming up with your home-buying budget so they can tell you how much money you’re likely to fetch for your current home. Knowing what down payment you’ll likely be able to make on your next mortgage could help you arrive at a more accurate estimate.
5. Check your credit score and boost it if needed
Mortgage lenders generally require a minimum credit score of 620 to qualify for a conventional home loan. But the higher your score is, the more favorable a mortgage rate you’re likely to qualify for.
That’s why now’s a good time to check your credit score. If the number isn’t as high as you’d like it to be, you may be able to take a few steps to boost it quickly.
If you owe a lot of money on your credit cards, paying off a chunk of that debt could help your credit score rise. The same holds true for checking your credit report for errors and correcting mistakes that work against you. You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report every week; just go to annualcreditreport.com.
Selling a home is a huge deal. Take these steps now to set yourself up for success this spring.