January 1 is a day of promise. A clean slate, a fresh start, a new beginning. Many resolve to exercise more, eat better, be nicer, get organized, and whip the finances into shape. As history shows, these things are met with varying degrees of duration and success. Listed below are a few items that we all could stand to do. These things are especially relevant if you are considering a real estate purchase in the New Year.
Check your credit. This is a much overlooked item by many of us. Look your credit report over. Getting your score in shape can take some time, especially if there are fraudulent entries, or high balances to bring down. If you are planning a real estate purchase, your mortgage broker or lender will need to see evidence of time gone by with a good steady report and a nice score. Since that is preferable for all of us anyway, why not look into it now?
Check your spending habits. After the Holiday season, when the bills start to arrive, is the best time for this one. This process involves rethinking our spending patterns and taking a long hard look at what goes out vs what comes in. Having more financial discipline is freeing, and even enjoyable! Establishing this financial behavior in advance of buying a home makes planning for the expenses of home ownership far easier!
Check into saving up. Having some savings is a must for all of us. Whether its for retirement, or a vacation, cash in the bank is the way. If you are thinking about saving up for a down payment, here are a few nuggets of wisdom to keep in mind. Saving up precisely what you need to put down on a home and pay closing costs, is only the start. Keep in mind that your lender may require you to have several months’ worth of payments that will still be in “reserve” in your savings or investment accounts after closing escrow. Also a stash of cash for the costs of the fixes and furnishings you will want when moving in.
Check your tax assessment! The way property values have been fluctuating lately, this one is a great “to-do” to avoid overpaying on property taxes. If you’ve missed the deadline to apply to have your home’s assessed value reduced for property tax purposes, do it anyway! Be early for next year.
Check into a real estate agent! If you are even thinking about a real estate transaction in the near future, let us know!! Real estate agents and mortgage brokers are a wealth of information that will change what you think you know. Big things like what will be involved and required when buying, selling or re-financing, what the market is like, and what’s happening locally! We love to get calls from prospective clients well in advance, as it makes our job, when the time comes, much smoother and simpler.
With the New Year just days away, these are all great items to help us get a good start on our resolutions. If you are dreaming of selling or buying a house in 2013, lets start talking about it. Establishing a game plan and working together is what we do! Happy New Year, Everyone!