Column: Buying during the winter months is your best bet!

I want to wish all my readers and their families and friends a happy and enjoyable Thanksgiving Holiday.
There is a real opportunity to purchase whatever you are searching for during the winter months. The reason I believe this is true is that there is usually less competition since many don’t enjoy going out during the cold and snowy months. It doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to find exactly what you desire, but at this point in time, if you are renting (as I always say, it’s a one-way street into your landlord’s pocket and building their wealth, not yours!) it’s an excellent time to find something that will reduce the outflow of “wasted dollars” and increase those benefits to yourself and your family.

Listen, we all want that perfect special home, homeowner association, condo, co-op to settle into, but the truth of the matter is even though inventory is increasing every so slightly, the scarcity of available places puts a damper on possibilities and our “wish list” becomes challenging.

However, is it possible that there are some homes out there that you could make some small or large repairs or upgrades that would turn the home to what you would like it to be ?

Maybe purchasing at a reduced price point and then make the needed changes would be a possibility? To that point, I began watching a new show on Bravo, Fridays at  8 p.m., called “Buying It Blind” whereby a couple agrees to purchase a home within their budget without seeing it, but allowing for an amount of money for repairs and upgrades.

They are blindfolded then go to the house and they are instructed to take their blindfolds off and get to see what they bought. The reactions are mostly negative and they are very much dismayed, distraught and disturbed at what they are seeing.

However, the shows realtor, contractor and interior design specialist, (whose services provided free of charge) are top professionals in their respective fields and listen very carefully to what the buyers didn’t like, took notes and figured out the best approach to make the home more desirable to the new owners needs and wants.

They had a certain budget and timeline to finish. It is an extremely interesting concept and an excellent way to approach the buying process, if you as the buyer are game for it. Without being on the show, one could also approach buying a home this way, as long as you know your price point with a budget for your repairs and upgrades.

Having a realtor and contractor and or interior/exterior design specialist to assist you could make this work for you and your family. One must have a realistic vision and be open-minded in realizing your constraints on what you can afford to buy.

However, search out the best location for your money, but always be cognizant and aware of what you can spend for upgrades. I would suggest when you find a home that you would possibly consider, bring in a contractor and if he or she can help you with the design and layout, (and if needed an interior designer) and have a budget to work with, just maybe the finished product will be what you set out to look for in the first place. Seek out referrals and reviews online, when searching for a contractor.

Also, you can apply for an FHA 203K construction loan which will provide the money needed for the needed repairs and upgrades and eventually become your fixed mortgage for the number of years agreed upon. The lender will require any safety or health hazards to be addressed first – things like mold, broken windows, lead-based paint, and missing handrails.

You will need to get several bids from licensed contractors and check out the work they have completed recently as well as several years ago to make sure the homeowners were satisfied with the completed job.

Once the loan is submitted with the bids for the work to be done, the appraiser for the lender, will thoroughly go over their estimate and base the loan on the future value of the home, once the work is completed. Once the loan is approved the bank will provide the money as each part of the project is completed, so they have your back every step of the way.

They have your best interests in mind as well as securing their loan in a project that will have increased the value in your home. You won’t be “Buying it Blind” like the TV show, since you and your bank will be in control of the process; and if thought out one step at a time, stress will be minimized and your success in your purchase and project will just be around the corner for your enjoyment for many years to come.

Philp A. Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 3 Grace Ave Suite 180 Great Neck. He has earned designations as a Graduate of the Realtor Institute and a Certified International Property Specialist. Receive regular “free” updates of sold homes in your area and what your home would sell for in today’s market or search on: WWW.Li-RealEstate.Com He can be reached by email, at: [email protected], or by cell: (516) 647-4289.

Share this Article