Updated: Jun 8, 2022
If you’re serious about buying, the winter season is a prime time for scoring a deal on the house of your dreams. But before you jump head first into a house search, here is what every home buyer should know.
Needs Vs. Wants
Before you even think about hitting an open house, you need to know what you are looking for. Otherwise, you may find yourself falling in love with something impractical, and quickly your emotions will take over logic. Start by sitting down with a pen and paper and draw out two columns: “needs” and “wants.”
Under needs, list your non-negotiables. For example, if you have a growing family, you may need four bedrooms, three baths, and a fenced-in yard for the dog. Under wants, put your wish list. Maybe you crave a gourmet kitchen, theatre room, or even a hot pool for those hot Medford summers. These are things you can live without, but life would be nicer if you had them.
With this information in tow, you can quickly weed out the homes that don’t meet your needs. From there, you can focus on slimming down your list to the ones that you want.
One Foot in Front of the Other
Now we get to the nitty-gritty. You need to follow certain steps if you want your home search and purchase to go smoothly.
First: Find out what you can afford. Your first stop should always be the lending institution. There are three reasons to get a loan preapproval if you can.
Know what you can afford so you can search for homes in the neighborhoods you want to live in.
It can give you an edge in the event there is a competing offer on a house.
It can speed up the underwriting process once you have a purchase agreement.
Second: Find an Agent. Once you know how much you can afford, it is time to find your agent. It may be tempting to go it alone until you find a promising house, but a real estate agent can provide an inside track on hot listings or steer you toward perfect properties that are not on your radar screen. You want someone who is going to negotiate a great deal, so now is not the time to sign on with your cousin Betty simply because she’s family.
Third: Make a fair offer. OK, you’re becoming a pro at this. You’ve found the perfect house (check), you know you can afford it (double-check) and now you’re ready to make an offer. Remember that buying agent you found? This is where she earns her keep by helping you settle on an offer that is the best deal for you.
Fourth: Get an Inspection. Having an inspection on your offer is one of the most important contingencies, so you can address any existing or potential issues with the home before closing. If the inspection turns up to be a major problem, your most excellent buyer agent has, of course, included a provision in the purchase agreement stating the sale is contingent on an acceptable inspection.
Fifth: Get ready to move. Ta-da! Congratulations you have secured the deal and are ready to move into the house of your dreams!
Don’t let the cold winter months cool off your home search, leaving you on the sidelines watching these great deals melt away along with the snow. Call, click or email today to help you get a hot deal on the house you need, want, and can afford.
Real Estate Broker, Licensed in the state of Oregon
Published East Medford Life Magazine - January 2014
Shanon holds an MBA in International Business, loves writing in her “At Home with Shanon” column that has been delivered to 47,000+ homes in Medford since 2014, has appeared on the Real Estate Radio Show, and was also featured on A&E TV network’s Real Estate Reality TV show.