Many people feel that house hunting is one thing that’s better done in the warm weather. However, contrary to the popular belief, there are actually many benefits of house hunting in the winter.
Think spring and summer are the prime home-buying seasons? Think again. These warmer months are typically the most popular times of year to buy — not only is it easier to tackle a hunt (and the houses look better sans snow…) but many families are striving to get their kids situated in a new suburb for the first day of school in September. And all of that equates to a spring/summer offer.
But if you’re looking now — or about to start your search — fall and winter could be optimal months if you’re a buyer. Why? Lots of reasons…
Sellers are MOTIVATED
Between the holidays, the more limited buyer base and because, likely, they’ve got another home already on the hook, sellers are motivated to make a deal in the weeks leading up to the holidays. For many buyers that translates to significant savings from list prices plus other concessions that might not happen in spring or summer.
Lower listing prices
Beyond homes that weren’t snapped up during the summer market, many homes wind up getting listed in the cooler months out of necessity — a last-minute move, out-of-town transfer or inheritance, for example. With time not on these sellers’ sides, houses may hit the market at lower-than-expected prices meaning you’re getting more for your money right out of the gate. Paired with the seller motivation we often see in the cold weather, your family could get an incredible deal on a home that exceeds your expectations.
There’s less competition
In that vein, buyers can expect less competition for prime homes than during the warmer months. That, again, helps fuel potentially lower prices while dodging many bidding wars and multiple offer considerations we’ve seen in past spring and summer buying seasons.
Mortgage process is faster
Fewer homes are being underwritten, so the mortgage process is faster and easier, pair that with the slower demand for new mortgages and applications tend to turnaround must more readily than in the spring, summer and fall
Winter is the best time to inspect a house
In terms of the home itself, winter in actually an optimal time to assess a host of potential structural and construction issues. Very often flooding, plumbing issues, roofing problems and problems with pipes pop up in the winter—long after the new owners settle in. Assessing a house during these chilly months can often paint a clearer picture of potential issues that already exist.
Homes look less attractive in winter
A less attractive looking home means a lower price! In terms of the home itself, winter in actually an optimal time to assess a host of potential structural and construction issues. Very often flooding, plumbing issues, roofing problems and problems with pipes pop up in the winter—long after the new owners settle in. Assessing a house during these chilly months can often paint a clearer picture of potential issues that already exist
Your agent won’t be as busy…
Even the busiest real estate agents see a dip in activity during the colder months meaning, chances are, you’ll have greater access to your pro. Those weekend hours that are, typically, booked weeks in advance? Now’s the time to get yourself on the schedule for those desirable time slots!
The drawback? There may not be as many houses on the market once the temperature drops — but that hasn’t deterred countless families from finding their perfect suburbandhome in the fall or winter. Likewise it may be harder to detect issues with a home when it’s covered in snow or ice, but a real estate professional and, of course, inspector can suss out any potential issues during their reviews.
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