5 Reasons to Buy a House this Winter
Advantages to Buying a Home in the Winter
1. Less competition than peak buying seasons
Depending on your situation, buying a house during the off-season can be a major advantage. With less action on the market comes considerably less competition for properties. For instance, a seller may have multiple offers on a home during the spring and summer months. Oftentimes, only the highest offers will even be considered, and from that can come a frantic bidding war amongst the biggest spenders. However, during the winter, your offer may very well be the only offer a seller will receive. Considering carrying costs until the Spring (peak buying season), sellers may be more willing to negotiate your offer rather than hope for another in the future. For buyers, the off-season is a critical opportunity to capitalize on a rare occurrence when the rules of supply and demand work in your favor.
2. Sellers are motivated and more negotiable
As previously mentioned, when buyer competition thins in the winter, sellers become more accommodating to the offers that are on the table. In most cases, it is more than a lack of options that motivates sellers to negotiate more generously. Winter can be stressful in many aspects, especially considering the expensive and all-consuming holidays happening in succession. On top of the purchasing gifts, arranging family gatherings, and organizing travel plans, sellers are trying to sell their homes--a task that would otherwise command all of their attention. Thus, winter sellers harbor a sense of urgency about moving their properties that relaxed summer sellers do not. For you, this means more straightforward negotiations and ultimately, a better deal than you'd get during the peak seasons.
3. See how a home endures in harsher weather
Much like people, homes thrive during the warm, lively months. Landscapes are greener, exteriors get fresh paint jobs, and communities are active. When house hunting in spring and summer, it is easy to envision a picturesque lifestyle within the properties you're looking at. The cold weather can expose your dream home to a number of inconveniences that may have gone previously unnoticed. These can include many issues such as poor insulation, roof leaks, drafty windows and doors, insufficient heating, and poor drainage. Moreover, the area in which you're buying could have a much less enticing social atmosphere than you had anticipated, especially at the shore.
The good news is that purchasing a property during the winter can save you from experiencing these downsides. You'll be viewing the home itself at its "worst". Due to inclement weather, you have an opportunity to identify any problems with the property before you spend a dime. This way, you can budget repairs and upgrades accordingly, and even work those expenses into your offering price. Secondly, you'll gain a good sense of the city or town where the home is located during its off-season. This is especially important when moving to a coastal region, as the summers here are widely considered the most attractive. You might find that the still streets and laid-back Sundays in this area are relaxing, or you can do some research on the best restaurants, day-trips, and activities to seek out during the off-season. Not only will your home and mindset be better equipped for the harsher weather, but the delayed gratification of enjoying this new place during the spring and summer will be that much sweeter.
4. Everyone is less busy – including your Realtor and your lender
Considering the slower market, the more attention each individual gets from their lenders and realtors alike. As a winter house hunter, it is likely that your agent is only working with a small handful of buyers and sellers. This means they have more flexibility to fit your schedule throughout your purchase. Likewise, your lender's desk is much less crowded with paperwork during the slow months. Thus, more attention toward securing your financing, allowing for a much smoother process for everyone involved.
5. The holidays make everyone a little nicer 😉
Holiday cheer is in the air! During the festive months, we're reminded to be thankful for what we have and generous about how we give. Spreading cheer isn't limited to sidewalk pleasantries and coin-drop donations. Many sellers are more open to giving buyers better deals during this time because, well, that's what the holidays are all about. So take this opportunity to score the greatest gift that money can buy--the perfect home for you and your family!