Buying a house, no matter the season, is no easy feat. Since it is a long-term commitment, you have to put a lot of thought and time into it to avoid having any regrets later.
Buying a home in the winter can even be more challenging considering the weather and social events that occur during this time. It is therefore important to be very keen when going house hunting at this time to avoid making any winter home buying mistakes.
Below is a list of common mistakes people make when looking to buy a home in the winter, and ones you should avoid.
Not Exploring All Your Options
Like any other marketplace, the real estate market requires you to shop around first before making any impulsive decisions. The winter season can be quite slow for home selling but there will still be an array of home options from which to choose. This is even more true if you’re buying a home in a sellers market, which is the case in many real estate markets across the Country!
Even if you know exactly what type home you want, try to look online at all available homes that meet your housing criteria first before settling. You might even end up finding a home that has a feature you did not know you needed.
Disregarding the Homes Efficiency and It’s Ability To Fight Against Severe Weather
Shopping for a home in the winter can actually be a blessing in disguise. You get to consider and discover how capable a house is in rough weather; something you may not see in the lighter seasons.
Since winters, especially in the Rochester NY area, can sometimes have raging occurrences such as blizzards and snow build-ups. You should check and confirm that the house you intend to purchase has the ability to withstand such events.
Buyers, and sellers, should always be looking for ways to save energy during the winter months, since it helps create a healthy environment for which we live in!
Avoid choosing a house simply because it is pretty. Consider first its sturdiness and stamina in all weathers, since you can easily alter its appearance to suit your liking.
Skipping A Full Professional Home Inspection
Due to the current state of many real estate markets, many homebuyers are electing to waive their home inspection. Buyers are finding that by including a home inspection contingency, that they’re losing out on home after home.
If the circumstances allow you should try to include the common real estate contingency of a satisfactory home inspection! By having a professional look through a potential home before moving forward to purchase the home, it can provide addition piece of mind!
Not having a home inspection is among the top winter home buying mistakes because people tend to hurry the process during this season. You would rather delay the purchase by a few days or weeks from your intended date and have a reliable and safe home.
Going Beyond Your Comfortable Budget
In many regions around the world, winter occurs simultaneously with the holiday seasons. That means that your money will have various responsibilities such as holiday shopping, gift giving, and vacationing, aside from buying a home.
Another common winter home buying mistake one can make is buying a home that exceeds their budget. Doing so can leave you in debt which will frustrate you and even possibly prevent you from enjoying your new home.
To avoid going through this stress, meet with your financial advisor or bank and know the amount of money you can spend without drowning in debt. This is why getting a pre-approval before looking at homes is one of the most important steps to buying a house!
A mortgage professional will confirm that you’re able to purchase a home and also help you determine how much you can comfortably afford!
Overlooking Property Because Of Winter Curb Appeal
Generally, winter comes with dropped leaves and vegetation buried under heaps of snow. The sky is usually grey and heavy and the outside always looks like a scene from a scary movie.
When buying a home in the winter, you always have to have your imagination on full mode. Otherwise, you might overlook a great home because of its dreary exterior appearance.
Imagine how it will look in the spring, when the trees are full with leaves, and the flowers have bloomed in all their colors. Also, picture it when the sky is clear and the streets are busy with neighbors and your lawn is lush and green.
Keep in mind that you can always alter the outside of your home easily, but finding a good home inside is not always possible. Therefore, give the inside of the homes you find more consideration than the outside when buying in the winter.
If you’re reading this article and are going to be selling your home, don’t let poor winter curb appeal scare away potential buyers! Be sure to check out these awesome winter curb appeal tips from some of the best real estate professionals across the world!
Poor Negotiations with the Seller
Many buyers make this winter home buying mistakes because they think that the sellers must be desperate because they’re selling a home during the holidays. While this can be true sometimes, it is not always the case.
Some houses might have been on the market before the winter season began and others simply entered the market in the winter coincidentally. Therefore, when looking for a good deal, avoid making negotiations that will offend the seller and later jeopardize the future deals.
Look at the house in question and assume you were the seller. Make an offer that would be favorable to you as the buyer, yet respectable to the seller.
Not Hiring A Buyers Agent
It is very understandable how people want to make their own independent choices when it comes to big decisions such as purchasing a home. The internet has also made it easier to get information on available homes for sale.
However, there are dozens of reasons to hire a buyers agent when buying a home. One of the most important being that real estate agents can help you save a lot of money by simply offering their knowledge on a property. For example, a real estate agent will know which houses have been on the market longest and why.
They can also provide advice to you on how much they believe the home will sell and might also have some properties they know about before they are listed online.
Bottom line, not hiring a buyers agent is one of the biggest winter home buying mistakes!
Not Considering Long-Term Plans
While this is not exclusively a winter home buying mistake, it is common for home buyers to not consider their long-term plans. When listing the things that your ideal home should have, you must consider your long-term goals.
Whether you’re looking to buy your forever home or something that you plan on living in for 5 years, you need to ask yourself many questions about your plans!
For example, how big is your family? Are you going to have any additions? Do you work from home? Will you need extra working or creating space? Do you need a home that is handicap accessible? Etc.
Do not buy a home just because you can. Unless you are a real estate investor that has no intention living in the purchased house, always make sure the home you want to buy will still be adequate 5-10 years down the line, if you plan on being in the home for that period of time.
Buying A Fixer-Upper
When buying a home in winter, you might not have the urgency to move in immediately. In fact, you might want to find a home that requires renovation and slowly build it to fit your vision of a great home.
While it is initially cheaper to buy a fixer-upper home that needs work done, it is not always the best move.
Well, some fixer-uppers end up taking more money than you would have spent buying a moving in ready home.
The costs of renovations and repairs, though in smaller chunks, might end up being even double the amount of a single purchase. That is why it is important to try and get a professional home inspection done before making any final decisions to know whether the home is a good investment or not.
Buying with Emotion Instead of Logic
Another common winter buying mistakes is going into the hunt with your heart more than your mind. Yes, you should first love your home before buying it, but other logical factors must come into play as well.
Top of the list is your budget. No matter how much you love a house in the market, you also have to consider your financial abilities.
Secondly, even though the physical structure of the house gives you goose bumps, you should think about whether it checks other boxes such as location and the homes proximity to basic facilities such as a hospital, grocery shops, and the local schools. You should also investigate whether the area is safe for you and your family.
There are many things to consider when choosing a neighborhood to buy a home in, so don’t forget to use logic while buying a home and not only emotion.
Not Expecting Delays
Buying a home in the winter can have several challenges such as unexpected weather interference, sellers being away for the holidays, or you, the buyer, having impromptu schedule changes.
As such, you should be patient with the whole process and not get frustrated if the home buying process doesn’t go as exactly planned. There are many reasons why a real estate closing is delayed and it’s important to keep calm during the whole process.
Final Thoughts On Winter Home Buying Mistakes
When buying a home during the winter, it’s critical you don’t make any of the above mistakes.
Whether you’re going to buying a house during the winter or during the summer, in order to avoid these mistakes you should educate yourself on the process of buying a house.
Understanding the steps to buying a house will help you naturally avoid these winter home buying mistakes and with the addition of having a top Realtor on your side, you’ll be enjoying your new home in no time!
About the author: The above article on “Top Winter Home Buying Mistakes | 11 Errors Made While Buying A House During The Winter” was written by Kyle Hiscock, a Brighton NY real estate agent with RE/MAX Realty Group.
Since being launched in 2013, Kyle has published more than 150 quality, in-depth, and unique real estate related articles on the Rochester Real Estate Blog pertaining to topics varying from home selling to mortgages and everything in between! In addition to quality real estate related content, there are also many quality articles pertaining to the Greater Rochester NY area.
The Rochester Real Estate Blog has been recognized by many reputable websites as one of the best real estate blogs to visit and follow! In addition to being recognized as one of the best real estate blogs, Kyle has been recognized as one of the top Realtors on social media by several organizations and websites.
About Rochester’s Real Estate Blog: Rochester’s Real Estate Blog is owned and operated by Kyle Hiscock of the Hiscock Sold Team at RE/MAX Realty Group. With over 40 years combined experience, if you’re thinking of selling or buying, we’d love to share our knowledge and expertise.
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