Is Buying a House in the Dead of Winter a Good Idea?
The spring market is usually the time of year that Realtors wait all year for. The best time to sell a house is during the first two months of May. Homes listed during this time sell quicker and for an average of $1,600 more than any other time of year.
Besides spring bringing warm weather, beautiful flowers and a smile to all who have just gone through yet another cold, wet winter, families typically like to purchase a home closer to the summer months to avoid uprooting the kids during the school year.
Because of this, the inventory of houses on the market is highest during these peak spring/early summer selling months. A seller’s market works well for those who are trying to do just that – sell real estate. And, higher inventory gives home buyers more properties to choose from but with that competition from other buyers, there is a greater potential for a bidding war which will drive prices higher.
However, buying a house during the winter months puts the buyer in a much better position. Yes, inventory is lower during this time of the year, but there aren’t as many buyers to compete with. And sellers are probably much more motivated to bring the deal to close, which gives buyers critical bargaining leverage.
Some say that “Sellers are much more motivated in the winter.” Winter sellers aren’t just in the market, they “are” the market, and really want to sell which means due to a lack of competition, buyers who are out looking during the winter months, can usually purchase a home for a lower price than had they been looking during Spring market.
Obviously, there is a small downside to looking for a home during the winter. Ice and snow can definitely make it difficult for buyers to evaluate the exterior of the home and the landscaping. It is always a good idea, if possible, to visit your potential new home when the roof and yard are clear of ice and snow, to avoid any surprises.
And, a potential buyer can always ask to see Spring/Summer photos of the exterior of the home and the landscaping, or even possibly waiting a few days to complete the exterior inspection.
Buyers, during the winter months, can take advantage of some perks that aren’t available during the Spring and Summer months, including extended rate locks and discounts on everything from interest rates to moving costs. Moves during the winter months, on average, cost 25 percent less than summer moves.
And while the season is important in both selling and buying, we must consider other factors. The key ingredient to any successful real estate transaction is finding the right agent. One who can advise you on the current market where you are looking or where you are living. And how do you find that agent? Word of mouth, foremost.
Get trusted referrals from neighbors, family, friends, and so on. Although finding an agent or a house online seems to be the norm these days, it doesn’t always work well. Sometimes you just need that personal touch. Only your real-life agent will have the most up-to-date information and the experience to get you where you want to be, either in selling or buying.
Jason Kerwar of The Laufer Team at William Raveis Legends Realty Group