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Buying a home changed significantly this year with the onset of COVID19. The year started out with a bang for home sales but slowed to a standstill in March after the onset of social distancing and stay-at-home orders.

While we wait for the country to recover from Corona, take time to strategize and organize before jumping into the market.

Be Realistic

Buying a home in Eugene often translates into a lot of hurry up and wait. Rising markets mean harder-to-find homes in your price range. You’ll find your perfect home, but with tight markets, you may need to re-think what your dream home looks like. It may be worth giving up that extra bedroom or a little yard space to get into a house with potential to grow into the home you love. Bigger isn’t always better. Bigger often comes with a bigger mortgage that can take a while to recoup in appreciation with respect to the other homes in your neighborhood. Set your emotions aside and go with your instincts. You can change anything in a house to suit you, so look for the best value for your buck.

Be Proactive

Check out the listings in your desired neighborhood and price range. When you find something you like, get ready to pounce on it. Often, being the first to bid a fair offer will give you priority. Review property listing sites and set up alerts on homes that meet your criteria. Consider buying a home during the off-seasons. Winter and early spring are good times to search because there are fewer buyers and sellers are much more willing to negotiate.

If you’re new to house-hunting, you may find it helpful to enlist the help of an experienced realtor. Realtors know your area better than anyone. They know what’s out there, how to work with sellers’ realtors, and can advise you on everything from reasonable bids to homes you should just walk away from.

Be Smart

Check your finances and get them in line before you begin to look for a home. Review your credit report and start correcting errors and repair negative information. Start saving for your down payment as soon as you can. If you’re going to enlist help from family to borrow, then make those arrangements sooner rather than later.

Talk to your bank about getting pre-approved for a mortgage. A pre-approval means the bank has already reviewed your financial situation and determined how much home you are qualified to buy. This saves you valuable time when you start house-hunting and it ensures that you’re shopping for a home you can afford. It also allows you to shop around for the best interest rates.

Be Ready

Become a house-stalker. Check out the neighborhood in which you’re thinking about buying a home. Do a drive-by in the morning and in the evening. Get the lay of the land. Observe neighbors and traffic. Many home owners have been completely disappointed by activity in the neighborhood after they purchase a home. Check your work commute by driving from your new neighborhood to your workplace. Evaluate schools, even if you don’t have kids because schools affect your property value.

The Bottom Line

Buying a home is a big life event. It affects you and your family emotionally and financially. Take time now while the world is on hold to get your ducks in a row for the best house-hunting experience and you’ll soon be on the way to finding your perfect home.