January 16, 2018
January 16, 2018
A few months ago, I wrote a similar article Why Fall May Be the Best Time to Buy a Home, and that was true for all of the reasons stated in the article. But you know what? It’s even truer in the winter.
That’s because all of the factors that make fall an excellent time to buy a home are even more pronounced in the winter.
Here’s what I mean…
Spring and summer are typically the peak buying seasons in the real estate business. In the fall, activity tends to slow down. But during the winter months, it can slow to a crawl. Traditionally, winter is the slowest season in the real estate business.
It makes sense when you think about it. The early part of the winter brings the holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Right after that, you get into the legendary dead of winter months – January and February. Those months are cold and dark, and that’s why people don’t want to go out house hunting.
If you think that January and February are a bad time to be looking for a home, understand that you’re hardly alone. Thousands of people in your local market stop looking for a house during this time of year because the weather is cold and the days are short.
But that’s exactly why you should buy a home in the winter. The buying crowd has thinned down to a minimum, and the competition is close to nonexistent.
The market is yours!
During the busy seasons, it may be difficult to connect with a real estate agent. It may be tough to connect with anyone who works in a related field – appraisers, home inspectors, and even mortgage lenders. Everybody’s busy working with seasonally high client loads.
But when winter hits, real estate professionals are easier to get in touch with. You may even find that they pick up the phone on the first ring. Because the number of prospective buyers is so few, it’s almost like you become a superstar. A real estate agent may have only you to work with, and no one else.
If that’s the case, then you will almost certainly get the “white glove treatment.” The agent will spend more time with you, including working extra hard to help you find the best deals. That will work in your favor, simplify the process, and save you money on the purchase.
The winter months are when you can best put that process to work for you.
Anytime buying activity slows down, the number of houses for sale goes up. If you are one of the few shoppers in the market, you’ll be treated to more selection than you would during other times of the year.
And apart from increased inventory, it’s a lot less likely that you’ll get trapped into a bidding war. That’s where two or more prospective buyers put in offers on the same property. It’s the kind of thing that happens during peak markets, and it’s not a good thing at all from a buyer’s perspective.
With two or more buyers bidding on the same property, the price goes up. That means that whichever bidder wins the bidding war loses by paying a higher price for the home.
In the winter months, a bidding war is much less likely to happen. And that brings us to what may be the biggest advantage of all…
Fewer buyers mean that property sellers will be anxious. If you find a property that you like and make an offer on it, it may turn out that you are the only offer that seller has gotten in weeks or even months. This is particularly true if the property was listed in the fall. It will have sat through the fall and the holiday season without selling.
When that much time passes, sellers become anxious and even a little bit desperate. A lowball offer that they would have turned down during the warm weather months suddenly becomes worth consideration. You may find that you can purchase a home for thousands of dollars below the asking price. And if you’re really lucky, you can even buy one that’s below-market.
That’s how buying a house during the winter months can put money in your pocket. It’s a huge advantage that should never be overlooked.
This is an advantage that you probably haven’t thought about. Homes usually present better during the warm seasons. There’s no snow on the ground, and the property is visible. The home is also framed by a generous amount of rich foliage, including bright and beautiful flowers. Meanwhile, on a warm day with plenty of sunshine, even a shack could look like a palace.
But none of this is true during the winter months. Days are gray, and in some parts of the country, snowy. The trees are bare, there are no flowers, and the grass is either covered with snow and ice, or the lawn has completely browned out. Many times, on the worst winter days, a house lacks the kind of curb appeal that would draw you to it.
If you find a home that you like in the winter environment, it’s likely that you’ll have found the Real Deal. If you like a house in the winter time, you’ll almost certainly fall in love with it by the spring. You’ll have a better chance of finding that home during the season with the fewest buyers.
And that’s the winter time, and that’s why you can’t pass up on this season as the very best time to buy a home.
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