When the days are short, snow is on the ground, and the fireplace is working overtime, the last thing many people think about is scraping ice off the windshield and hitting the road for a homes tour.
And that’s fair enough. But while it’s true that winter weather conditions might not be ideal, winter real estate conditions still very much are.
The truth is, winter homebuying gets a bad rap. We’re here to set the record straight, and tell you a few reasons why buying during the winter is just as great, if not better than, any other season.
There is less competition
If you’re not jumping out of your seat at the thought of buying during winter, you’re not the only one. Think about it: because most people aren’t planning on buying in winter, you’re given the chance to be among the few who do.
And if ever there was a market that follows the laws of supply and demand, it’s real estate. By positioning yourself to be part of a relatively small demand, suppliers have little choice but to price homes as competitively as ever, and take extra care of the few buyers that have shown interest.
During summer, for instance, sellers have a laundry list of buyers. With all the competition, why would they not see just how high they can up their price? Why would they go the extra mile to accomodate you?
During the winter, you’d be a buyer among few buyers. The reality is, this makes you special. You’ll get more time to make decisions, and more attention and care from sellers and agents.
The best part is: you most likely won’t get caught in the middle of a bidding war, and you’ll almost definitely get your home at a lower price.
You can save time
Winter sellers are motivated sellers. Why? Because there’s a strong possibility they either weren’t able to sell their home during the summer (for a variety of reasons), or they couldn’t wait until spring or summer to list it.
In either case, it’s safe to assume the seller doesn’t want the sale to take any longer than you want it to. Plus, with less chance of a bidding war comes a higher chance of getting to closing faster than otherwise.
The same motivation applies to real estate agents, too. In the slower months, they have more time to help you move things along.
The closing may be faster
When it comes to actually closing on the house, you can save a lot of time in this process, as well.
Not only do the agents themselves have more time, they also have an incentive to get another sale in before year end. That way, they can include the commision on the current year’s income.
Sellers, too, are likely interested in closing the sale before the end of the year. They probably also want to get out and get settled in their next move as soon as possible.
The bottom line is, every party is motivated to get through the process quickly, and there are fewer moving parts and obstacles to get in the way.
You can see how well a home handles the winter
This is an often overlooked upside.
In most markets, winter is harder on homes than any other season. By home shopping in the peak of the harshest season, you get to see first hand how well a home holds up.
Is it well insulated, and does the furnace work as expected? Are there problematic cold drafts coming from doors, windows or ceilings?
And more: is the plumbing functioning well in the cold? Are the gutters handling the season’s more taxing conditions? How about the roof?
These are all extra perks to home shopping in winter that you wouldn’t have any other time.
And altogether, the reasons covered here should help in convincing you, at least to some degree, that winter is still a very reasonable – and often beneficial – time to buy your next home.