After you set the clocks back an hour for daylight saving time, people tend to be a little more apt to want to stay inside, watch TV and wait for spring to roll back around. If you’re not one of those people, and you’re anxious to start your search for the perfect house, there’s no reason for you to wait. While some may think that it’s better to wait until spring or summer, fear not. Much like buying a bathing suit in January, you can usually find a better deal by shopping around in the off-season. We spoke with Brian Davis, the co-founder and lead real estate blogger at SparkRental.com to get the real facts about buying in the winter.
Bidding Wars Are Over
Purchase season usually starts in April and ends in August. The season can bring out some competitive buyers and sellers, and even more competitive bidding wars often ensue. When purchasing in the winter, these bidding wars are fewer and further between. Winter buyers can also expect that they aren’t the only ones highly motivated to get their dream home off the market; sellers tend to be in a hurry to move out, too. Davis says this can be one of the best things about buying in the winter. “Sellers can also be in a hurry to get out of their home,” says Davis. “With the holidays and tax season, most will be highly motivated to sell. These sellers can be more likely to negotiate the price down because of their need to sell.”
When buying in the winter, buyers can have the upper hand in many ways – for example, when they’re working with the seller and servicing professionals. “To begin with, servicing professionals such as realtors, appraisers and home inspectors are all hungrier to make deals happen. They may be willing to compromise on fees, and can usually move faster given their emptier pipeline.” Davis says that it can be beneficial to buy during the winter because sellers and servicing professionals are often more inclined to negotiate in order to make a deal happen. These professionals will also have more time to spend with you as their client and to cater to your needs as a buyer.
Inventory Drops, but Demand Drops Lower
Purchase season also means selling season. Oftentimes buyers find themselves left with slim pickings. The upside is that the demand also drops. While you may feel discouraged from buying in the fall and winter months, Davis assures us that there are plenty of homes that have the potential to fulfill your dreams. “While inventory is a little lower in winter, demand drops even more so than inventory does,” says Davis. “So even though there are fewer sellers, there are even fewer buyers. That means that sellers tend to be more susceptible to negotiation and lower offers.” Not only will they be more susceptible to lower offers, you’re more likely to get a quick turnaround time, too.
Another reason why you should consider buying in the winter is simply to make sure things like water heaters, plumbing and roofs are put to the test, as they often are during the cold months. If these need to be fixed, you’ll be more likely to find out and could be able to negotiate the price down.
It may be tempting to wait until the spring and summer months to buy a home. After all, not only is it easier to move in the warmer months, it can also be frustrating to try to envision landscaping and curb appeal when it’s cold and gloomy outside. But the benefits may outweigh the downfalls for some people. With the possibility of a quicker turnaround time, more time with the people who can help you and maybe even a better deal, there are plenty of reasons to consider buying in the winter.
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