What To Do Now if You’re Buying or Selling a Home in 2020

By Jon Miller, Realtor®

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in 2020, now is a good time to start planning and to get ready. A lot of home sellers were waiting to list their homes until after the holidays so home buyers should see more homes on the market soon. Likewise, a lot of home buyers were busy during the holidays and home shopping may have been on the back burner. Things will get busier in January as sellers start to get their homes ready to list and buyers begin to make home buying a priority again.

When Will Homes Go on the Market?

The chart below shows new real estate listings in Roxborough & Manayunk by month in 2019. Last year there were over 60 new homes on the market in both January and February, significantly higher than during November and December. The biggest increase from the previous month was in March. We should expect to see a similar pattern in Roxborough & Manayunk this year.  For sellers, that means that it’s time to get your home list. For buyers, it’s time to get ready so that you have everything you need in place before finding the perfect home.

Buying a Home in 2020

If you plan on buying a home in 2020, now’s the time to get started on the process. It’s far too common for home buyers to wait until they come across a home they love before doing anything else. In order to make an offer on a home you’ll need financing from a mortgage lender and you’ll need a way to get into the house. For financing, you’ll need a Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter before you can make an offer. The letter isn’t a commitment to getting a loan. It just shows that you can qualify for a loan based on the information provided to a lender. If you’re planning on buying a home in the next 6 months you should get your mortgage pre-approval letter now. The process can take a few days to a few weeks and you don’t want to be one of the many home buyers who misses out on a great house because they couldn’t get pre-approval letter in time to make an offer.

Here’s what you need to do now if you’re planning on buying a home in 2020 . . .

  1. Learn about the Home Buying Process
    A good way to do this is to reach out to a real estate agent and get an overview what to expect when buying a home. I usually do this over coffee or on the phone. Prospective home buyers find it helpful to know what to expect and to get questions answered from a local agent with experience.
  2. Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter
    You’ll contact a lender for your pre-approval letter. This should include a phone call to answer your questions about mortgage loans. The lender will also be able to provide you with numbers to help you narrow down your price range.
  3. Set Up an MLS Search
    The MLS, or Multiple Listing Service, is the database of homes for sale that local agents pay to use. We use it to share listings with all of the other agents in the area so all of us know what’s on the market at any given time. It’s basically like Zillow or Realtor.com but with much more accurate and up-to-date information. New listings go on the MLS before they hit these other sites. A real estate agent can set you up with an MLS search so you can be sure to have access to every listing that may meet your needs.

Selling Your Home in 2020

The Seller’s Market that we’ve seen in Roxborough & Manayunk over the last several years should be expected to continue into 2020. That’s a great thing for sellers but if you’re planning on buying and selling at the same time it can make things difficult. If you’re buying and selling at the same time, and using the proceeds from the sale of your current home to buy your new home, it raises the question of whether to list your home first or find your new home before listing. There are pros and cons to both approaches and how you proceed really depends on your exact circumstances. An experienced real estate agent can help you figure out which is the best option for you.

If you’re planning on selling in the next several months, January and February should be spent getting your home ready to sell. If you are planning 0n selling your home this Spring, here are the things that you can do now to get ready . . .

  1. Find Out How Much Your Home is Worth
    Online estimates are easy but they’re well-known for their inaccuracies. To find out how much your home is worth you should meet with an experienced local real estate agent who can show you recently sold comparable homes and market data to get an accurate assessment of your home’s value. You should also contact your current mortgage lender for your mortgage payoff amount. You’ll need your home’s value and the mortgage payoff amount to get an estimate of your proceeds from the sale. You’ll need an estimate of your proceeds if you plan on using those proceeds toward the purchase of your next home.
  2. Organize & Discard
    Before worrying too much about making any improvements or repairs, most sellers should just focus on organizing and discarding their home. A well-organized and clean home is the first step in getting your home ready to sell. Buyers prefer homes that are clean and have minimal distractions. Go through all of your belongings and discard anything you won’t take with you to your new home. You can also go ahead and pack up anything that you won’t use between now and when you move and pack anything that you only use once in a while.

More Information

Hopefully, that helps you get started as you begin thinking about buying or selling a home in 2020. If you’d like more information send me an email or fill out the form and we can schedule a time to talk about your specific needs and put together a personalized plan of action.

What’s It Like to Live in Roxborough & Manayunk?

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Looking for things to do in the area? Check out the Roxborough Manayunk Events Calendar and see what’s happening this week.

Jon Miller, RealtorJon Miller is a Philadelphia Realtor with Compass Real Estate. Jon has been working with home buyers and sellers in Philadelphia and Montgomery County since 2010.