featured blog: Is winter the best time of year to buy a house?

DHREA 20/12/2018
Is winter the best time of year to buy a house?

Even if you’ve never purchased a home before, you’ve probably heard the term “spring market.”

Traditionally, the warmer months were thought of as the only time to get into the real estate market, but that’s not always the case.

If you’re looking to buy a home without all the heat of a potential bidding war, here’s 3 main reasons why this winter just might be the best time to buy:

1. Sellers are more motivated

Calendars become packed around the holidays. Between social events and familial obligations, very few of us would want to add yet another thing to our already busy schedules — especially something as important as selling your home.

As a buyer, you can use this knowledge to your advantage.

Sellers who are willing to market their home during the winter usually need to move right away.

These sellers are moving for a reason — a new job, a progressing relationship, or a family emergency — that’s so important they’re willing to inconvenience themselves during the busiest time of year.

It stands to reason that, if they’re willing to compromise their time, they’ll probably be willing to negotiate on price, too.

While your real estate agent is ultimately the best person to help you decide how to make an offer based on your current market, it’s something to think about.

If coming in under budget is your top priority, buying in the wintertime is probably your best bet.

2. The house’s true colors come out

Let’s be honest: everything looks better on a sunny summer day.

The reason why most agents encourage their clients to sell during spring & summer is because it’s literally the best possible light.

You’re seeing properties in their prime — the most natural light, neutral temperatures, and landscaping in full bloom.

In the winter, sellers don’t have that advantage.

Buyers will know if the heat isn’t working correctly. They’ll know if certain windows are drafty, and with less daylight, there’s more of a chance buyers will see a property after dark.

As the buyer, you should always go into showings with a discerning eye, but shopping around in the wintertime can help make potential deal breakers seem more apparent.

If you’re buying in a cold, rainy, or snowy spot, you’ll want to give extra consideration to some winter-specific details about the home.

How much shoveling, if any, will need to be done if there’s snow? Will you need to contract with someone to bring in oil? Is the house drafty or well-insulated and seale?

Make note of these factors so they can weigh into your decision making process.

3. There’s less competition

Since spring is the dominant time to buy, there might be another unforeseen advantage: less competition.

Many buyers take the “wait until spring” approach and get started with the masses.

Whether it’s kickstarting a New Year’s resolution or timing a house hunt around the kids’ school year, you can bet that the market will be its most crowded in springtime, which means you’ll be fighting over inventory with everyone else who had the same idea.

While inventory can be more limited in the winter, so can the number of potential buyers you’ll be competing against.

Sellers will be grateful to have someone willing to brave the ice, snow, or chill (if you live in that sort of climate) to come see the property.

And since there are fewer interested parties, there’s less of a chance you’ll have to deal with a high-stress multiple offer situation.

This article originally appeared on OpenListings.

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