While spring and summer are more popular seasons for house hunting, winter should not be overlooked. The colder and shorter days may not inspire you to go look at houses, but consider this: they aren’t inspiring other buyers either. This means you’ll likely have fewer to compete with when you’re ready to make an offer. That lack of competition is just one of the many reasons to consider buying a home in the winter.
If you don’t let the chilly weather and slower market scare you off, you could find:
It’s common to run into several others buyers who are interested in your dream property when looking in the warmer months. You could run the risk of being outbid or not having much leverage in negotiating. Afterall, why would a seller feel compelled to negotiate when they have their pick of offers? In the colder months, buyers have fewer parties to worry about. This is a huge pro if you find your perfect place.
Fall and winter are notoriously slow seasons for sellers. Those who decide to sell during these months are often doing so for reasons that don’t allow them to wait. This can make them particularly motivated to get their home sold quickly. For the buyer, this might mean lower prices, quicker closings, and opportunities to negotiate.
Negotiating can be a crucial part of the process and should not be overlooked. It can vary from making an offer lower than the list price or asking the seller to cover repairs to even negotiating a different closing date or including appliances. While sellers list their homes on their terms, buyers do have the power to bid for their needs. This is a lot easier to do with fewer buyers on the market.
Your realtor will be able to dedicate more time to help you look for a home in the slow season. While we strive to give each of our clients as much attention as needed, it is definitely easier to spread ourselves around fewer parties. If you’re a first-time home buyer, having more time with your realtor can be really beneficial as the process is new and you’ll likely require more assistance than our seasoned clients.
This may not be a huge deal if you live in a warmer climate. However, for those more northern, having a well insulated, energy efficient home matters when the temperatures drop. If a property is drafty or shows signs of exterior water damage, it’s better to know about those issues going in. With this information, you can negotiate for repairs or a lower price on the house if it looks like you’ll be making the repairs yourself. You could even request an energy audit to determine if the problems are prohibitive. Knowing early on how your home behaves in the winter can save you a lot of money and discomfort. This is one aspect you miss out on when buying in the spring or summer.
“The best time to buy” is truly subjective. There are pros and cons for each season, but what is best for you depends on your circumstances. For families, the warmer months can be better because they coincide with a break in school. However, for single home buyers, seasonal schedules can be less of a factor. Whatever it is inspiring someone to buy a home, weather shouldn’t be a deterrent. At shelter, we believe that winter is as great a time for real estate as any other season.
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