Ask The Experts: Home Buying and Selling Tips

Scott Dickey

Despite the recent increase in interest rates, the housing market remains strong. Whether you’re buying or selling, there are several things you can do to help you have more success. We spoke to Scott Dickey, President of BancorpSouth Mortgage Services, seeking his best tips for homebuyers and those looking to sell. Scott Dickey has 28 years of experience in the mortgage industry. He is a former board member and past President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Alabama. Scott offers the following expert tips for both buyers and sellers:

The Benefits of Homeownership

“For one thing, homeownership promotes wealth. It’s a wealth builder for individuals over time. Renting does not do that. Second, it raises the level of commitment to the community once you are a homeowner in a particular area. You get much stronger community involvement and support from owning a home that isn’t the same when you’re renting.”

Tips for Buying a House

Set a budget and stay within the budget. Buyers need to understand what they can afford BEFORE they start looking. They need a mortgage professional to talk to them about what’s required. They can advise them on what documentation they need about their employment background and how much they have available for a down payment.”

Get prequalified. This helps you understand what you can afford. Getting prequalified gives you more leverage in negotiating a purchase. In some cases, sellers may be reluctant to engage with you if you are not prequalified.”

Learn about assistance programs. There may be down payment assistance programs available that first-time homebuyers may not be aware of. BancorpSouth participates in over 70 such programs across the footprint, and our home loan experts can help find one you might qualify for. Talk to a home loan expert right at the beginning of the home buying journey.”

Tips for Selling a House

Make updates that will improve the “wow” factor, such as new paint and landscaping. The old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. That curb appeal is important. The first time they open the front door is important. If the home has not been maintained properly, it may turn off potential buyers.”

Declutter by removing excess furniture. It is distracting if a potential buyer is trying to visualize themselves in that space. It gets harder for them to do if you have too much furniture or too many personal family photos on the wall.”

As far as pricing your home, most sellers tend to use a realtor. Lean on the realtor’s experience and knowledge of the local market to help you establish your selling price. They are professionals, and they have more data than anyone else.”

Gaining a Mortgage

Gather your income and asset information before applying for a mortgage. Two years of tax returns, most recent pay stub to document your income, last few months of bank statements to document money available for a down payment; if you get these items together upfront, it helps make the process much easier to start the prequalification process.”

Do not take out additional loans while in the mortgage process. For example, don’t buy a new car. Don’t finance furniture. Don’t sign up for a new credit card. Don’t co-sign on a family member’s loan. These types of purchases could affect your ability to get an approval. It could show up as another inquiry on your credit report, which could lower your credit score. Avoid making multiple mortgage applications. It will show up on your report and have a negative impact on your credit score. You’d be surprised how often this happens.”

Improve your credit long before you apply for a mortgage. Pay down debt, and don’t take out any new credit. If you can do that over six months, you’re generally going to improve your credit score.”

If you’re in the market for a new home, contact a BancorpSouth Home Loan Expert. A Home Loan Expert can walk you through the process. Understanding your unique situation and needs can help guide you to the right moves and the right products to get the home of your dreams. Find a lender and get started today!