You might have second thoughts about being one of those house hunters braving the rain, sleet or snow to find your perfect home in the winter months. Likewise, if you’re looking to sell your beloved home in the winter, you might be thinking about holding off until the spring. But as these tips from two seasoned real estate agents will show, winter real estate is ripe for opportunity.
Re/Max Agent Charles Beebe Jr. reminds his sellers that Mother Nature is in charge. He says turbulent weather can be a pain in the neck since it directly affects the number of interested folks looking to buy in winter.
I recently asked him whether the saying is true that it’s better to buy a home in the spring because of a larger number of homes on the market.
“I would say there are usually less buyers in the market due to the weather and plus many people get bad advice from their agent to wait until spring,” said Beebe, who is based in Exton, Pa., and has worked in the real estate industry for 26 years. “The possible lower inventory of homes on the market may result in a buyer getting a home at a much better price.”
He tells his buyers who are house hunting in the winter to keep their search going regardless of the season. Beebe insists a home that meets their ideal criteria and at the right price can pop up on the market at any time.
Detroit-area Real Estate Broker Ali Berry said he agrees that people should squelch the myth about buying and selling in the winter.
“For sellers, it is a great time to sell,” he explained. “The buyers that are in the market are serious and have more than likely been looking for a while and have possibly lost a house or maybe a few (to other bidders.)”
Berry says the lower house inventory in the winter impacts competition for buyers. They don’t have as much to look at, which means sellers have less competition in the housing market.
“I am seeing more homes going into multiple-offer situations today than I did four months ago,” said Berry, owner of Quest Realty.
“This is a direct effect of the lack of inventory. There is still a tremendous amount of qualified buyers looking and just not enough good quality homes for them to purchase,” said the former Quicken Loans mortgage banker. “So, when something good hits the market, it is usually under contract in a matter of days and will most likely have multiple offers.”
Beebe said his philosophy is that if you can locate a home that meets your needs, then being a winter buyer is not a hindrance.
“The biggest challenge for buyers purchasing in the winter is when agents tell their clients to wait until the spring,” stressed Beebe, which he says isn’t always the best advice.
Berry advises his buyers to focus on getting their financing figured out ahead of time so that they can submit competitive offers.
“If [buyers] can go with a conventional loan instead of FHA, do it,” he said, advising buyers on the type of home loan products they consider. “You will have a lot better chance of winning a bid with a conventional loan even if the property is in great condition.”
Berry also suggested several things to help to close a deal more quickly.
“I find that the down payment isn’t the biggest concern for sellers. It’s more about the financing type, short inspection periods, short closing periods, and if you can give the seller time to stay in the home after closing if they need it.”
Beebe says his biggest piece of advice is to have an agent who can keep you informed of any current and newer listings as a seller. He said an experienced real estate agent can help woo and wow a winter buyer over the competition in any season.
“If you have your home priced correctly, and have it staged and in tip-top shape, the buyers who are looking to make a purchase in the winter should consider putting in an offer,” he said. “And as the saying goes, it only takes one buyer to purchase to meet the seller’s ultimate objective of selling!”
If so, subscribe now for tips on home, money, and life delivered straight to your inbox.