How to Start Planning For Your Next Home Purchase

June 25, 2020
Last updated:
March 30, 2022
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The recent health crisis certainly threw a wrench in homebuyers’ plans, especially during the first few months of the crisis. That said, the real estate market across the country did pretty well, considering many others did not.

If you were holding out on buying a home because of the uncertainty that ensued, you might be ready to buy a home now. Read on to discover some tips on how to start planning for your next home purchase.

Where Do Things Now Stand in WA, OR, ID, and CO?


The Safe Start plan was a phased approach overseen by the state government whereby counties permited the operation of, and access to, a variety of public institutions and private facilities. Phase 1 looked very much like the original stay-at-home orders, exempting essential businesses.

While staying at home as much as possible was encouraged, it is no longer required. Businesses have opened, including health clubs, hair salons, new construction, and restaurants, for example. Real estate operations were particularly lucky to have had lots of liberties during Phase 2. If you are looking to buy a home, you may be presented with a rare opportunity to land a great deal.


Phase 1 of Oregon’s re-opening schedule looked much like Washington’s phase 2. Barbershops, retail outlets, gyms, and restaurant dining areas, e.g., assumed regular operations. Of course, they were required to adhere to the standard rules calling for masks, optimal ventilation, and social distancing in most settings in order to remain in compliance.

Workers can again occupy their business offices, including those in real estate.


The Gem State was among the furthest along in re-opening with Idaho Rebounds. As of now, Idaho has opened restaurants and bars, outdoor and indoor recreation facilities (including health clubs), personal care establishments such as hair salons and tanning studios and movie theaters, and nightclubs.

Employers have resumed unrestricted staffing at offices and industrial buildings. Attendance at large venue events is also permitted under specific rules regarding distancing and crowd management. In addition, visits to nursing homes and assisted living campuses are once again allowed.


As with the other states, re-openings in Colorado were subject to public health caveats relating to distancing, masks, and keeping the most vulnerable isolated from possible contagion.

Although residents were encouraged to remain at home, non-essential businesses are now functioning out of their own physical places. Outdoor recreation is open, and real estate showings or meetings can proceed.

Initial Inquiries

Knowing conditions on the ground is important for home buyers. The good news for those just starting the process, nevertheless, is that planning a home purchase can begin in the comfort of their own residences. Computer technology offers listings with an abundance of photographs and video tours.

In fact, it is the next best thing to being there. Best of all, it eliminates the drudgery of traveling to the house after house to discover the ideal dwelling. Before you book showings, you can narrow your selection before leaving home.

Determine What You Can Afford

It’s a seller’s market out there, which means competition is fierce among buyers. Bidding wars among buyers throughout the U.S. are common. It will probably remain this way until supply catches up with demand. Many contestants can make all-cash offers, putting those seeking financing at a disadvantage.

Yet money is money, be it borrowed or owned. Sellers will respond if and when the price is right. Therefore, to save time and emotional health, buyers do best who can account for their down payment and closing costs before they put in any bids.

To do this, they need some idea of their loan amount, and to do that, they need to start with the list price. With that in mind, purchasers can then decide on what kind of loan works best for them. From there, the down payment figure follows as well as an estimate of costs associated with the loan.

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Get Pre-Approved Quickly

Cash deals have sway because of the promise, or well-grounded hope, of a quick sale and settlement. Still, a purchaser making an attractive offer can compete by having a lender pre-qualification, or pre-approval, in hand. This is not a guarantee by any means. Instead, it represents the lender’s confidence in the borrower’s stated information.

An approval will follow if and when that information is properly documented and confirmed. Yet the pre-qualification has the power to influence a seller in your direction. It tells the seller that the bank or finance company likes what it sees in the person bidding on the house.

There is one element of pre-approval that gets near-instant verification – the buyer/applicant’s credit scores. High, or at least acceptable, scores assure a lender ahead of loan processing that the applicant pays bills on time and stewards financial resources responsibly.

Given the crowded field of buyers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Colorado, each one needs every edge available. Excellent credit serves that purpose, all other criteria being satisfied. It makes the pre-qualification more likely and keeps the interest rate low (very low these days) should the loan be granted. If you have a bad credit score, don’t worry, you can improve it.

Decide Why You Want a New House

As corny and sentimental as it sounds, sometimes an emotional appeal can make the difference with sellers in as tight a market as this economy has yielded. Preparing a “love letter” in advance of negotiations gives a buyer a personality to whom a seller can relate.

The Washington Realtors trade association has posted that a bond between the two parties “…frequently arises from shared interests, history, family preferences, etc. of the buyer and seller and may trigger decisions by the seller based on the seller’s unconscious bias.” Having such an intimate appeal in the back pocket can offset any weakness in the offer.

The crux of the love letter centers on what the house would mean to the buyer, the family, and their future. It spares no detail in talking about spouses, children, their love and their struggles. While much of it can be crafted in advance of a home search, the letter should be later tailored to the property of interest. Although it does not make the deal a slam dunk, a love letter strengthens an offer in an intangible way. Moreover, with a little thought, much of it can be produced ahead of time.

Do Not Delay on Financing

Do not wait for the actual offer to arrange for a mortgage loan. Talk to a loan officer promptly about every potential house and what loan fits your position best. Given all the variables, nailing down financing is crucial.

Sammamish Mortgage has been around since 1992 and has helped plenty of people get mortgages. Based in the Pacific Northwest, Sammamish helps clients in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Colorado.

If you want to get a rate quote, feel free to Contact Us. Sammamish is here for you and can help you with the entire process. You can also View Rates directly on our site. If you’re ready, you can also Apply Instantly or get a Rate Quote.

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