The purchase of a home has historically involved many steps which is no surprise as it is one of the largest purchases that one will typically make. This year some things have changed so even if you have purchased a property before, you may need to double check a few things. Here are some tips if you are looking to buy a home this year.

See if new tax codes affect you

With the new year there came a new tax code. Even though the buzz has brought up some concern by buyers, the reality is it won’t affect nearly as many as we had thought. For example, this year homeowners can deduct mortgage interest on home loans up to an amount of $750,000. That is down from $1 million from before.

Prepare for competition

Prices have been increasing, but inventory has not and the landscape for buyers is one that is most certainly competitive. However, in some areas and in some price points things are a bit more normal in terms of level of activity. For those in high demand markets, there are some things that you can consider to give yourself an edge in the marketplace.

For example, some buyers are doing things like offering cash if possible while others are writing personal notes about themselves with offers to make them more emotionally appealing. Additionally, asking sellers about their goals for a sale can be another option. Should having a flexible closing date be of interest to them, that can be another way to be the perfect buyer in their mind.

Consider a fixer-upper

There is usually a high demand and more competition for the homes that are renovated and move-in ready. Consider adding this to your advantage and look to buy a fixer upper or a home that is in need of some key renovations. Just be calculated about these options and make sure you purchase the home a good enough price that the cost of renovations doesn’t exceed the current market value when the work is completed. Bring your contractor along to view the home in consideration so that you can make the best offer with some firm numbers in mind.

Don’t fall for staging

Staging homes has become even more popular recently. Whether it is adding in some core pieces of furniture, hanging wall art, storing away clutter or removing personal items, it all can make a home seem more accommodating or even larger. In a recent survey by NAR, nearly 1/3 of buyers were more willing to overlook property shortcomings in a staged home.

While a staged home can help you visualize yourself living in it better, don’t forget the basics. For example, beautifully hung wall art may make a room look really nice, but don’t forget to look for wall cracks or imperfections that may need some attention.