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Home Buying in Winter Months

by Nancy Heim-berg

While many buyers assume that spring and summer are the best times to purchase a new home, it's not entirely true.

Favorable weather can certainly make your house-shopping more enjoyable, and in cold climates you may not be able to see the yard because of snow, but there are plenty of advantages to searching for your new home in the winter.

For starters, it's a buyers' market. Potential buyers may put off home shopping in the winter because they're traveling, or are busy with the holidays. While there are still homes on the market, fewer people are looking at them and for you - the buyer - that's to your advantage. 

With less people looking, that means there's more time for your broker to spend time with you, as well. Instead of juggling a multitude of clients, they can focus on fewer potential buyers. And the typical winter buyer is a more serious buyer.

Winter is also a prime season to see how a house stands up to harsh weather conditions. Plumbing and heating systems, and roofs and gutters are tested hard in the cold. You may not be able to view all of the outdoor landscaping, but it's far easier to fix that than replace a major system such as a furnace or boiler several months down the road.

The winter season can also be a great time to find good deals, deals that are buyer-friendly because fewer people are looking. Even a small difference in price can mean big savings in the long haul. Also, if you're looking to buy a bank foreclosure you could potentially find a great deal because banks are anxious to get those loans off the books before the end of the year.

Even selling your home in the winter has its advantages. While it may be frightful outside, the warmth and cheer of a holiday-adorned home can charm prospective buyers.

Home Search Checklist

by Nancy Heim-berg

Buying a home can seem overwhelming, especially if it’s your first. Taking advantage of favorable market conditions often means acting fast to evaluate many different properties in a short time.

Since you might look at dozens of potential homes in a month, it can be difficult to keep all the details straight. Weeks may pass during your search, making it hard to recall what you need to know to make a decision.

Before you visit your first property, it’s a good idea to develop a checklist to help you evaluate each one. Checklists allow you to get your thoughts about each property down on paper and compare them easily in the future.

A Checklist Helps You Find Your Ideal Home

Checklists are used in all kinds of situations, and have even been shown to reduce the potential for mistakes in the operating room! It makes sense, then, that you should consider using a checklist to see how potential homes stack up against your priorities.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development provides a free worksheet that allows you to quickly “check off” information about a home’s layout and condition, the neighborhood, nearby schools, and other community features.

This is a great place to start, but you might also consider making a customized checklist that reflects your own needs and preferences. Make sure that each checklist you use is identical and that you can “rate” different aspects of a home in a way that will make sense later.

Making Use of Your Checklist

Once you have your checklist all prepared, each member of the household should bring a copy to every property visit. While reviewing a potential home, it’s a good idea to take each item in sequence and do one thing at a time.

Your checklist will probably include details about the surrounding neighborhood, so be certain to make time to drive or walk around the area after you’ve seen every room of the property. Some features, such as schools and hospitals, might require online research to “score” accurately.

Be sure to save your completed checklists somewhere convenient so that you can compare them easily in the future. If multiple people will be evaluating each property, it’s a good idea to write each one’s name at the top of the checklists they filled out.

A checklist helps make the home buying process easier, faster, and more convenient. Don't forget it!

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Heim-Berg Team
Berkshire Hathaway
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Omaha NE 68154
(402) 677-9024
402-679-7108
Fax: 402-493-4805

 

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