Utah's housing market is perking up, which was good news for Ryan and Allison Barclay when they decided to relocate to Highland. Nevertheless, the couple discovered some do's and don'ts along the way.
The Barclays, along with their Prudential Realtor Stephanie Poulos-Arrasi, narrowed down five things to remember for Utahns looking to buy or sell a home.
1. Work on curb appeal
Buying a home often starts online, Poulos-Arrasi said, and ensuring your home looks good in photos will get more attention.
Allison Barclay said she worked on preparing her home months before it went on the market.
"We spent some time staging it, freshening up paint and trying to maximize curb appeal and appeal inside the home as well," she said.
Ryan Barclay pointed out that any remodeling should appeal to a wide audience.
"Don't do all these intensely personalized things, like a room that's pink instead of a nice neutral gray color," he said.
Along with making sure the house looks good, Poulos-Arrasi said to make sure repairs are made. Get a home inspection done and have a report ready for prospective buyers, or ask for one if you're looking to buy — it can save you money in the future.
2. Be sure the price is right
"Listen to your agent," Poulos-Arrasi said. "A lot of people have, in their own mind, a price that they want and it's unreasonable."
Well-priced homes are going fast in Utah, and sellers are getting more money for their houses than in past years.
"We haven't seen that for a long time," she said. "Everybody was on the fence about whether they wanted to sell, and I think that it's good that they waited because now's the time, and now they're getting a good price also."
3. Be on top of the loan process
Finding a lender on the Internet is not enough, Poulos-Arrasi said. Working with an inexperienced lender can lead to problems come closing time.
The same goes for credit check programs, Ryan Barclay said. The couple subscribed to a credit monitoring program to prepare for the lending process and discovered a long forgotten error on their credit. However, the error wasn't reported to the Barclay's lender after it had been fixed.
"I was shocked," he said. "You've got to stay on top of it."
A lender can also help buyers know what their credit score should be for the price range they're aiming for, Poulos-Arrasi said. Being pre-approved for a loan also makes sure you're ready when you spot the house you're looking for.
4. Ask about a home warranty
Getting a home warranty will protect your home through the first year of ownership. Poulos-Arrasi said a warranty can cover electrical and plumbing systems as well as appliances.
"Most buyers ask sellers for a warranty and they usually give it to them," she said. "So if anything goes out, they're covered."
5. Be ready
Good houses are going fast on the current market, Poulos-Arrasi said. Having everything ready means you will be ready when the right house shows up.
"They need to be qualified with a lender and they need to be ready so that when that house comes up, they've got their (pre-approval) letter and they've got everything to send in," she said. "Sometimes they see the house and then they go see a lender, and then it's too late."
Part of being ready means being flexible, Ryan Barclay said. Closing dates can change and buyers can fall through, so a backup plan is necessary.
"Don't get all excited about a closing date because chances are it might go past it," he said.
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