It’s snowing outside and the temperature is dipping down into the teens. You snuggle on the couch with an electric blanket. The pantry is stocked with non-perishables. You’re determined not to leave the house until the spring sun turns up, though you’re not sure how you would explain that to your boss come Monday morning.
Then you start fantasizing about buying a house. You’ve heard rumors that a buyer’s market prevails in winter. Are the considerations strong enough to pull you off of the sofa?
Spring and summer are the most active real estate months
Most real-estate transactions take place in the spring and summer for a number of practical reasons: Pleasant weather conditions encourage people to leave their own homes to view prospective new houses. Moreover, homes tend to look their best in these two seasons, with the trees and flowers in bloom. Families with school-aged children prefer moving during school summer vacation, and lastly, moving on a warm summer day avoids the mess and hassle that may be caused by a snowy day.
During the winter, a buyer’s market generally prevails
Since the spring and summer are the most active real estate months, many home sellers wait until these seasons to list their homes. Though there are fewer home sellers who list their homes in the winter, they often have reasons why they can’t wait until the spring or summer to sell their homes, such as job relocation.
The fewer number of home sellers and the deadlines that these home sellers face can work to the home buyer’s advantage. However on the other hand it does limit your choices. Though this may seem to be a fault, the smaller selection can save you a lot of time. Do you really want to traipse through fifty houses in search of your new home? It may be simpler to view the handful of homes for sale in the winter and choose the one that best suits your needs.
Just as there are fewer homes for sale during the winter, fewer people look to buy homes during the winter. This lack of buyers usually pressures winter home sellers to accommodate potential buyers. Use this knowledge to your advantage. Offer a relatively low (but no insultingly low) bid for the home you’ve selected, or ask for perks such as the matching furniture in the living room and the chandelier that you admire. The lack of potential buyers also gives you more time to make your decision. Whereas during the prime real estate season, you would worry about another buyer snatching a house away from you, during the winter you usually don’t have to think about such competition.
Other advantages of buying a home in the winter
Buying a home in the winter gives you a seasonal perspective. Did you feel cold while looking through the house? Is there a functioning heating system? Are there drafts coming in through the windows? Another advantage of buying a home in the off-season is the relative availability of industry professionals. Real estate agents will have more time to focus on your search for a new home. Lenders will be more accessible for questions and for providing assistance. Some lenders even waive fees during the off-season to encourage borrowers to utilize their services. Likewise, movers tend to lower their costs during the winter months.
Imagine your new home in the summer
Home buyers can be turned off by the bleak look that the prospective home exudes in the winter. The bare trees and grey-snow covered lawn may be unappealing. If you decide to take advantage of the winter buyer’s market, keep in mind that the spring will eventually overtake the gloom. Leaves will bud on the trees and the grass and flowers will start to bloom. Your winter bargain will turn into a spring paradise.
Hampton Roads Homes