It was another sunny weekend here in Portland. Though I am definitely a fan of the fair weather on a personal level, professionally I secretly curse the lack of winter rain. Searching for a home in winter can have it’s disadvantages – the inventory can be scarce as sellers wait until spring to put their homes on the market and gauging what a garden will do in the spring is nearly impossible. But there is one distinct advantage that makes me want to tell every client to buy in the winter: water.
When the (normally) heavy Northwest rain falls, a homes water issues can become apparent, revealing issues that in summer may be nearly impossible to see. I have some clients, dear friends, who I helped with the purchase of their dream home in summer. They called me justifiably upset after the first rain the fall after they moved in. Inches of water in their basement. I felt horrible for them! The challenge is that there were few signs of a problem in the basement, save for slight water marking that is actually pretty common in older homes. And if the home has Portland Cement – that porous aggregate so common in homes around here – dry weather makes it even more difficult to tell if it’s a big problem like my friends had, or a smaller issue of seeping. (I realize that this example is also about the failure of the sellers to disclose the water intrusion, which is unfortunately difficult to prove, though depending on the situation may be worth pursuing in court. Fodder for another post.)
But there are the successful examples, too. I helped another friend purchase a home through Fannie Mae, who as a bank are not able to provide a detailed disclosure. The inspector found a roof leak because of staining on the living room ceiling. Once that dried in summer the problem may not have been apparent. Another client purchased a fixer where the walls seeped and mildew was beginning to grow. They were able to financially for the needed repairs. A good thing, because once summer rolled around the basement dried out and hid it’s issues.
You and you family should decide to purchase a home or investment property in whatever season works for you. Just know that every season has its benefits and drawbacks.
One of the best things you can do is to hire well-recommended inspectors to investigate any issues with your prospective property. I like the guys over at Associated Master Inspectors, and Elena likes to use Home Inspections NW. While we can’t unearth every problem, between good inspectors and Realtors, like Elena and I, who are willing to do as much homework as we can to find out the complete picture of a property’s condition, you can do all you can to minimize surprises once you own the home.
If you are thinking of buying a home any time soon – whether winter, spring, summer or fall – I’d be happy to help you unearth the right home for you and be aware of its condition when you buy it. Give me a call at 503-936-8705 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.