BUYING A HOME IN THE WINTER
Why you shouldn't waste the cold months dreaming of a Spring purchase.
Every winter the same thing happens to me; I meet someone new at a holiday gathering or a night out and when they learn I'm a real estate agent they say "Oh! We are actually planning on buying a home, but we're going to wait until the spring of course." My response is always the same, the best time for them to buy a home is NOW.
You may be thinking "Of course you'd say that, agents always want you to buy a house NOW." But there are some huge benefits to buying in the winter that buyers miss out on in the spring and summer.
Competition - Spring and summer is when everyone wants to move, the market explodes and agents lose their minds trying to keep up with demands. If you're a seller this is a great time of year, but if you're a buyer you're going to be struggling to keep your head above water in the sea of other buyers. In the real estate world everything comes down to supply and demand, and when the demand out numbers the supply things get hectic. Prices will soar and homes will get nabbed right out from under you, it's stressful and frustrating.
It's a common myth that people don't sell homes in the winter, but the truth is people are ALWAYS selling homes. Buying in the winter means you may not have as many choices, but you also don't have the competition. You can take your time, browse more leisurely, and worry less about multiple offers.
Negotiations - People who choose to sell in the winter often need to move quickly, maybe for a job relocation or family situation, and don't have the luxury of waiting for the spring. This means they will be much more open to negotiations and you could get a much better deal.
Great Prices - In the winter the supply of homes will outweigh the demand for them, which means buyers get to be picky about what they'll pay. Unlike in the warmer months, when buyers often offer above asking price to beat out other offers, in the winter buyers can offer below asking price without any eyebrow raises.
Better Inspections - The winter offers some great seasonal advantages when it comes to inspecting homes. Does the roof have any leaks? You'll sure know if it does in the winter (especially in the Pacific Northwest). Does the heater work properly? Are the windows and doors drafty? Are the fireplaces functional? All these things can be tested in the spring and summer, but any faults are much easier to notice in the winter, especially the leaks and drafts.
Professional Help - Probably the best part of buying in the winter is the availability of professionals to help you out. This is a slow time of year for agents, inspectors, contractors, lenders, and anyone else you may need, and they'll all be more than happy to cater to your needs!
So, if you're ready to buy a home but were planning on holding off for the spring, you may want to rethink your plan. Put on a warm coat and go get a great deal on your new home!