If you’ve been thinking about buying a new home but don’t think that the cooler months make for an ideal time, you may actually benefit from changing your perspective. Though spring and summer are typically the most active real estate buying and selling seasons, house hunting in winter has its own benefits. Knowing what they are and how to use them to your advantage can put you on the path to home ownership sooner rather than later.
One of the best reasons to buy a house in winter is that there is less competition out there. Because many people believe that buying a home in cooler months is a bad idea, they stay home waiting for spring to come instead of house hunting. After all, moving at this time can be inconvenient and messy if you have to deal with inclement weather. Additionally, families will be less likely to move in the months of September through June if their children are in school.
It’s the perfect time to start looking for a home during months when there are fewer house hunters. With less buyers in the market, homes move more slowly and sellers are more willing to negotiate on their asking price. They often need to move from the property in the near future, and you can use that to your advantage to get a favorable deal on a house that may otherwise be out of your price range during the peak selling seasons.
Lenders also usually have fewer loans to process and less paperwork to deal with in the off-season. With lenders less hassled, you can expect a smoother mortgage approval process.
Touring a home during the winter allows you to see things that you may not have been exposed to if you had come in the summer months. For instance, drafts may be a sign that windows need replacing or that there are air leaks that may need to be sealed. If the house feels warm without the thermostat being set too high, it may be an indication that the home has good insulation.
If you decide to brave the cold and hunt for a home during winter, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, don’t feel like you’re going to inconvenience someone by viewing their home during the holidays, evenings or weekends. Sellers want to sell just as much as buyers want to buy. Also, don’t be overcome by holiday decorations, which can make a house look cramped or have the opposite effect of making the house more emotionally appealing than it otherwise would be.
Just like any holiday shopping sale, knowledgeable shoppers know where to find great opportunities. The same holds true for real estate. There are still homes for sale in winter and bargains to be found, so don’t let the seasons rule your search for a home.