Buying A Home In The Winter
If you buy a home in the winter you may be going against the grain. Most people, even if they’ve never bought a house, know that the conventional wisdom is to purchase a property in the spring and summer. You may have heard sayings like “The market’s hot when the weather’s hot!” or similar. Every year you will hear cliches about the market “warming up” or “thawing” in the spring!
The conventional wisdom is pretty solid in this case. As the year winds down to a close, the holiday season begins and people start to take vacations, travel, and host: family. The school year is halfway done, and exams are usually happening or on their way. In many places the weather can be cold, gardens are dead, and some homes won’t look their best. Lastly, it’s normal to organize our lives by the years and seasons, and so many people considering a big choice like selling their home will plan to do it “next year”, so they can spend the winter making preparations to sell.
All of this makes it sound like the market dries up as the mercury begins to fall, which isn’t entirely wrong. There is definitely less inventory available, and it’s more likely that the houses on the market have been there for a while when you buy a home in the winter. As realtors often follow conventional wisdom as well, most will coach their clients into listing their properties during the spring. However, there are some great advantages for buyers who remain vigilant and prepared to buy a home in the winter, and it can even be the time to snag a great bargain.
Here are five reasons why you should buy your home in the winter:
1 -Less Competition: By going against conventional wisdom, you’re going to be part of a smaller group of buyers. As your competition starts to hibernate until spring, there will be more chances for opportunities to come your way when you buy a home in the winter. If you’re one of the few buyers booking a showing during December or January, you’re going to stand out much more to the agent and seller than if you’re the 30th buyer through the house that week. Less competition is always better! If you get to the stage of putting in an offer, chances are much lower that you’ll be part of a bidding war or be outbid. The Edmonton Real Estate Team has lots of experience getting our customers great bargains when they buy in the winter.
2 – Cool Off: While the weather is cooling off, you can also take the opportunity for a deep breath. It’s easy to get caught up in the mania of a hot market and get run ragged with bidding wars and chasing the hot new listings. You can feel convinced that if you don’t make a move immediately- someone else will! Working in the winter season can be a great way to slow down and give your choices more thought.
3 – More Leverage: Sellers are also understanding of the movement of the seasons. Those with a home still in the winter market will be aware of the reduced activity and will probably take your offer more seriously. Sellers will have a real motivation to close the deal, which can make it easier if you have any negotiating to do, such as over price, financing, conditions, or more. You may also be able to close the deal faster.
4 – Everyone else is less busy, too: As the real estate season is slowing, the same is usually true of the professionals who work closely with it, such as contractors, home inspectors, movers, appraisers, and home inspectors. It can be easier to find the help you need in the winter away from the crazy season. Buying a home in the winter allows you to take advantage of this lower demand for service providers.
5 – Home Prices: Lastly, it’s much more likely that homes might be cheaper in the winter. Sellers might have to sell their homes in the winter for a number of reasons. They may be motivated enough to accept lower prices. Besides the lack of bidding wars, homes that have been on the market for a while may be re-listed at a lower price. Not only that, the sellers will be likely to take a lower offer during this slow part of the year. The data agrees that people who buy during December and January tend to pay less- and as a home will probably be the largest purchase you’ll ever make, even a little discount can be a big deal!
I hope this post gave you some ideas about why it’s a good idea for buyers to keep their eyes and ears open this holiday season. Happy house hunting! ** Tim Grover – The Edmonton Real Estate Team