Most people consider spring the prime home-buying season, but purchasing a home in the winter offers a few important benefits, including less competition and certain tax advantages. If you’re contemplating buying a home in Central New Jersey this winter, you’ll want to keep these four tips in mind.
Use Your Imagination
Even the most beautifully landscaped properties tend to look drab and dull during the winter. Before you take a home off your list, try to imagine how it will look when green leaves cover the huge oak tree in the front yard and the rose bushes in the backyard are in bloom. Ideally, sellers will display a few photographs of the exterior of the home during the spring or summer, but if they don’t, an active imagination will help you recognize its potential. When purchasing a new home, you will have the ability to landscape the lot to your choosing once you close on the property.
Holidays and storms can slow down the home buying process during the winter months. If New Jersey experiences a record-breaking snowstorm, home inspectors won’t be battling snow drifts to inspect the property, and mortgage, title and insurance companies will be closed.
Bad weather may also affect new home construction. Even if workers can reach the site, the trucks that deliver cabinets, wood and other supplies may be delayed. Although the roads will eventually be cleared, and business will return to normal, unavoidable delays can try your patience.
Reduce Your Spending
You’ll want to avoid adding thousands of dollars of debt to your credit card during the holiday season if you’re planning to buy a home in the winter. Realtor.com notes that incurring too much debt may affect your debt-to-income ratio. If the change is significant, a pre-approval from a mortgage company may even be withdrawn.
Charging appliances and new furniture to credit cards should also be avoided before you close on your house. Making too many credit-based purchases may negatively affect your credit rating and lead to issues with your mortgage. There will be plenty of time to go on a shopping spree once you receive the keys to your new home.
Pay Attention to Cold Weather Issues
Buying a home in the winter offers a particularly important advantage for buyers. Since your tour of the home will take place during the heating season, you’ll be able to spot potential issues easily. As you walk through the home, note if any of the rooms seem warmer or cooler than the others. Although slight variations are unavoidable, drastic changes in temperature may indicate that the furnace or boiler doesn’t operate efficiently and may need to be replaced soon.
Pay attention to the sounds you hear when the heat turns on too. Although it’s not unusual to hear a few clanging sounds in older homes, the heating system should be almost soundless in a newer home.
Don’t forget to check out windows and doors during your tour too. Poorly insulated doors and windows cause drafts and allow heat to escape, increasing your utility bills. If the homeowner hasn’t provided utility bills, ask to see them.
If you visit after a snowstorm, you’ll be able to evaluate how well the municipality responds to storms. Are the roads clear or covered in snow days after the latest snow? If buying the home would require a long commute, you’ll want to make sure that the roads will be passable throughout the winter.
Are you ready to buy a new home but haven’t found the ideal community yet? A visit to Country Classics at Hillsborough just may end your search. The four-bedroom, 2.5 bath executive homes offer impressive facades, side-entry garages, family rooms truly big enough for the entire family, first-floor offices and luxurious master bedroom suites. Contact us for information about available lots and models during our final phase.
Realtor.com: 6 Killer Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make When Buying in the Winter
Trulia: What You Need to Know About Buying a House This Winter
Zillow: Selling a House During Winter Holidays