Would you buy a house during the winter? Are you prepared to slog through feet of snow and slide around on sheets of ice looking for a new place to hang your hat? Are you willing to move your family’s belongings into a new place when temperatures are freezing outside?
Doesn’t sound too fun, does it? What if buying a house in cold, hard weather translated into saving some cold, hard cash?
According to a Realtor.com survey of over 1,300 prospective winter home buyers, there are plenty of reasons why it makes sense:
- Motivated sellers – Regardless of how cold it is, some people still need to sell their homes. And with less foot traffic, you could see sellers more willing to strike a deal, especially if they’re motivated. Over 26% of survey respondents believe this will happen during the winter.
- Lower prices – Motivated sellers + slow market + patient buyers that are willing to wait = potential for lower prices. Almost a quarter of the people surveyed indicated that they fully expect housing prices to do the same thing that the temperatures will: drop.
- Better chances of purchasing – It stands to reason that a fair number of those looking for houses during the winter are people who didn’t have much success in the spring or summer. With the slowdown in the market, almost a quarter of the survey respondents believe that will have better odds making a deal this winter.
- Less competition – A recovering market means more competition for available houses. A slower season means less people vying for the same properties, which improves the outlook for 20% of those surveyed.
So that’s the perception, but does it match up with reality? Can you get a better deal on the house you want if you wait until winter?
The answer is yes, but there’s a catch.
The overall number of buyers tends to be higher during the spring and summer months, so this can be considered prime season for home sales. While there may be some sellers who are particularly motivated to sell their home, it may not be as urgent for many. Facing fewer interested buyers and the potential to sell their homes at a lower cost, some less-motivated sellers may just hang on until the weather warms up.
Think of it like a department store selling bathing suits. Chances are you won’t see too many bikinis on sale once the weather starts getting colder as there isn’t much demand for them. Instead of selling the bikinis at a discount, the stores may just hold on to them until beach season – unless there’s another factor and they need to get rid of what they have.
In the end, you have a quantity vs. quality argument during the winter months for home buyers. The quantity of homes on the market will be reduced, but the quality of the deals could be better if a motivated seller meets a buyer that’s willing to brave the cold.
Did you buy a home during the winter? Make sure you check out these Zing Blog articles on making sure your new place is fully prepared for winter, controlling common winter pests, and keeping your utility costs down during the cold months.