How to have a happy real estate New Year in 2016

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It's 2016, and many of us might have made resolutions to do things differently this year.

In the spirit of making better real estate decisions, here are some real estate resolutions for the New Year.

Selling and buying at the same time. This is very challenging. Concerns include: Can you afford to buy before selling? Must you sell before buying?

Will you have to find temporary housing? How much inconvenience are you willing to deal with?

To deal with these problems, it's best to have a strategy in place and work with your agent toward a win-win deal.

Getting your finances together. If you plan to buy a home in 2016, now's the time to meet with a mortgage professional to view your financial picture from a lender's perspective.

There is no charge for this service, and meeting with a local lender will give you a clear picture of how much you can borrow and how much you can afford.

Think of your home as a car that you want to sell. Clean it up. Get rid of clutter. Make it appealing. Make it sparkle and shine.

Do some painting if needed (a friend of mine sold an old 280Z with a new paint job for more than he paid). Staging a home also helps get it sold.

Check the market to see what homes are for sale. Going to open houses is a good start, but it's also important to learn about the local real estate market, prices and home values in the neighborhood where you want to live. Browse the MLS (multiple listing service) to see all available properties. Become an informed buyer or seller. Engage the assistance of a knowledgeable real estate agent.

Choose the right real estate agent who will work best for you. Selling and-or buying a home takes time and planning. To make sure all your real estate needs are satisfied, it makes a lot of sense to get the right real estate agent involved in the process and working for you ASAP.

Happy 2016! Here's a gift to help you have a Happy Real Estate New Year - a free book, "Finding Agent Right," to the first 16 readers who contact me.

Carl Schroeder, 2014 Hilton Head Realtor of the Year, is a Realtor and associate broker with Foundation Realty. He has been serving the Hilton Head area since 1976. Carl@hargray.com

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