Ask anyone that has been to an open house or a home showing in the middle of a snowstorm, and they tell you they prefer to look at homes in the spring and summer. Ask sellers, and they will tell you they don’t want potential buyers tracking snow through their house in the winter months
While all of this is real, things do slow down in the winter, which’s not necessarily bad. Granted, it is colder outside. It is a given that there are fewer homes are for sale. Moving in a snowstorm is a nightmare. However, there are some smart reasons to buy a home in the winter. It may arguably be the best time to buy a home.
1. Less competition
In most real estate markets, things slowdown in the winter months. Many people do not want to look at homes when the weather gets colder.
Some buyers’ unwillingness to view homes in the winter can be a significant advantage for other buyers. Fewer people means less competition. And less competition allows buyers to be a little more selective when looking at homes in the winter.
There may be more home inventory in the summer months, but there is a higher likelihood of successfully buying a home in the winter. There as less all-cash offers and less over asking prices offers on homes in the winter. Sellers are more willing to accept traditionally financed offers to purchase.
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2. Motivated sellers
Many sellers put their homes on the market in the winter months out of need, not a choice. When sellers’ options are limited, buyers have a slight advantage. If a seller has to sell and wants to do it fast, they are more prone to working with buyers to close a deal.
Buyers should pay more attention to days on the market during the winter months. The longer a home sits on the market, the more willing the seller may be to lower the price or make other concessions to sell their home.
A buyer needs to remember that just because they have a slight advantage that does not mean they can be unreasonable in their offers. The best advice is to talk to a real estate agent and build a negotiation strategy together.
3. See the home at its worst
In most of the country, homes receive more stress in the winter. Those stressful conditions create an advantage for buyers because they can see how the building handles the worst conditions. Most homes are not drafty when the wind is calm. Most houses do not show water leakage when it is dry outside. When the heat is on in a home, you can better judge which rooms stay warm enough for you and how good the insulation is.
Looking outside the home can also reveal things that are more hidden in the warmer months. Are there ice dams? How does the house look without all the leaves on shrubs and trees hiding parts of the home? If there is ice, how dangerous will the walkways and driveway be? If you are going to need to remove snow, how much of a task will that be?
4. Hiring movers is less painful
Anyone that lives in a college town and has had to move while college students are moving in and out knows that sometimes it is almost impossible to hire a moving company. In the winter, fewer people move, so the likelihood of being able to hire a mover. Winter is a slow time for movers, and you might even be able to negotiate a lower price for their services.
Flexibility is essential in the winter months. You might not be able to move on a specific day if there is a blizzard raging outside. It is best to allocate a window of time when you would like the move to happen.
5. Less time to close
Mortgage brokers are less busy in the winter months, by as much as 30% compared to the summer. It is more likely that you will have to plan your closing around your mortgage broker’s schedule in the summer. That is less likely to happen in the winter.