So, you think that you are ready to begin looking for your dream home? The thought of beginning the home buying process can be a daunting one, especially in the Portland Metro area, where it can be difficult to find the home you love at the price you can afford. While the market is tough to infiltrate, it’s always helpful to give yourself that extra competitive edge by being totally prepared for what’s to come.
The first step to making sure that you are ready to take the leap into home ownership is to get pre-qualified for a home loan. This is a crucial element in the area’s competitive market, as the strength of your loan and the competency of your lender can make or break a deal in many cases. Make sure that you carefully consider how much you can afford to spend per month on housing (think, mortgage costs, utilities, taxes, HOA fees, etc.). When you have a good idea of this, you should carefully research the loan programs that local lenders can offer you. If you are considering looking into utilizing one of Oregon’s government-based first time home buying programs, you can find lenders who specialize in obtaining these grants. A great place to find this information is http://www.oregon.gov/ohcs/pages/oregon-bond-program-down-payment-assistance.aspx.
After you have found a suitable lender, the second step is to find the real estate agent that will be able to help you find the home of your dreams. You should be looking for an agent who services and is knowledgeable about the area and neighborhood where you would like to live. It’s always advisable to utilize the services of a professional real estate agent for many reasons. Mainly, it’s always a good idea to have the help of a professional who is familiar with this process and who can represent throughout the transaction. They will help you have an upper hand on negotiations, and usually have the best resources to find the home that you are seeking. Remember, as the buyer, you typically do not directly pay the real estate agent that you choose. This means that eliciting his or her help will generally come at no cost to you.
Now that you’ve gotten pre-approved for a loan, and you’ve hired a real estate agent to help you find your home, you are finally coming to the most stressful and exciting part of the process, the third step: finding your dream home. Talk to your real estate agent about the areas that you’d like to live in, and make a list of what your “dream home” entails. You may not know all of the details in a home that are most important to you until you’ve had a chance to visit a few, so this list is ever-evolving. Be sure to communicate all of your wishes to your real estate agent so that they have a clear picture of which homes to share with you. While your real estate agent will do their best to find the perfect home for you, it’s always helpful to keep an eye out for a home that you love just in case it does not fall within their search parameter.
When you find the home that you love, it’s time for the fourth step: make an offer. It’s crucial to remember that homes in this market often sell quickly, and often sell at or above listing price. Don’t be discouraged by this fact! The important thing to remember about being in this situation is that you should make your offer as appealing as you can, within the financial parameters that you discuss with your lender. Your real estate agent will be able to advise you on the specifics of the offer. When you go to see a home, you should always give careful consideration for all good and bad qualities of the home, and only make an offer if you are sure that it will be a good fit for you.
The most important step in this process is to remember not to get discouraged. Home buying is an exciting and nerve-racking process that will take time, especially in a competitive market. If you have done your research and are using trusted professionals to help you through, you will find your dream home in no time.
-Examine Roof Shingles: Winter weather can cause damage to your roof during the winter. As we move into the summer season, the hot sun can damage your roof shingles. Be sure to take look for cracked or loose shingles, as any of these should be replaced.
-Check your Gutters: Spring can bring a heavy amount of rain, which can mean major issues if your gutters are not draining correctly. Improper drainage can lead to water leaks in your basement or crawl space, as well as rot on the siding of your home. Make sure that the gutters are clean and clear, and down spouts are draining away from the foundation of your home.
-Use Compacted Soil: The large amount of spring rain fall can also lead to flooding in your yard if there are low areas. Spreading compacted soil in these low areas of your yard will help alleviate pooling water and flooding in your yard.
-Examine your Chimney: After a long winter of using your wood burning fireplace, it’s always a good idea to have a professional inspect and clean your chimney.
-Move your Firewood: After having your chimney cleaned and inspected, be sure to store your firewood at least 18 inches off the ground, and 2 feet away from the structure.
-Check Exterior Faucets: Check all of your exterior faucets for damage that may have occurred over the winter. If you turn the water on and place your thumb or finger over the opening, you should not be able to stop the flow of water. If the flow of water stops, you may have pipe damage inside the home. While you’re checking this, it’s always a good idea to check your garden hose for rot.
-Service your AC Unit: While it’s still a little early to begin using your AC, it’s always a good idea to get a jump start on prepping for warm weather. Hiring a heading and cooling contractor to service and inspect your air conditioner could save a lot of hassle, and prevent unexpected breakdowns of your unit during the hot summer months.
-Check Power Equipment: Check your gas and battery-powered lawn equipment to make sure it’s ready for summer use. This will make keeping up with the spring lawn growth much easier.