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Four Tips for Winter Rural House Hunting

During winter, we typically see a slowdown in the real estate markets. New home listings decline as sellers tend to shift their focus to the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Perhaps the snowbirds fly south to escape the unpredictable winter weather and put selling their rural property on hold until spring. Families are less likely to uproot their children during the school year and -- let’s face it -- no one wants to move in the dead of a Midwest winter with zero degree temps and snow! Begin planning and researching now so you’re prepared when the perfect rural property comes along!


Winter To-Do List: 

  1. Find an experienced real estate agent - Having an expert, local real estate agent on your side is invaluable. Working with someone who is knowledgeable about rural property listings, as well as the local area, is can make a big difference. Partnering with a real estate agent up front will allow you to be the first to know when a rural property is coming up for sale and if it will fit what you are looking for.
  2. Choose an experienced lender and get preapproved – One of the best things you can do when planning to buy a home is to get preapproved. if buying a home in the country is your dream, make sure you’re partnering with a lender who understands the intricacies of rural property lending and is able to offer you a long-term, fixed rate.  Having a preapproval letter when it comes time to offer on your dream home could be the difference between acceptance and rejection. Also, getting preapproved up front gives you a realistic idea of what you can afford. It’s very important to have a good understanding of your finances when making a large purchase like a home. 
  3. Prioritize needs vs. wants – Once preapproved, you’ll have a good idea of what you can afford. Now it’s time to translate that into what is important to you in your dream home. How many bedrooms do you need? How many acres do you want to grow rural lifestyle? Do you require any outbuildings such as a barn or shop? If a property does not have a shop, do you have the cash flow to build one post close? Evaluating your needs, wants, and goals is an important discussion to have up front so you are prepared when more rural properties are listed.  
  4. Start exploring locations – It’s time to evaluate what location/area you are looking to buy in. Rural listings tend to be sparser than those in town so having your area narrowed down will help. Further, getting to know the zoning restrictions for the area you are looking in will be important, especially if you plan to grow and develop your property once you’ve purchased it.
  5. Now just because the real estate market slows down Nov-Feb, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be keeping an eye on the market. Yes, there will likely be fewer listings, but there might also be less competition from other buyers. Further, sellers might be more motivated to sell and be more flexible on price. 

As the snow melts and the smell of spring is in the air, you’ll start seeing an influx in house listings. This is when all of your preparation work over the winter pays off.

Timing is everything and being prepared with your real estate agent and preapproval will give you an edge up on the competition. When you find your dream property, you’ll be ready to make the offer and work through the purchase process with confidence.

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