While spring and summer are typically the most popular times of year for people to buy and sell houses, the winter months also see their fair share of real estate transactions. If you are thinking of buying or selling a home during the winter season, here are a few things you should keep in mind.
Buying a Home in Winter
Yes. Freezing temperatures and lower inventory may make shopping for a home during the winter difficult, but there are some distinct advantages to buying a home this time of year.
1. There’s less competition. Because there are fewer houses on the market, there are also fewer buyers shopping. This means buyers can be more selective in choosing a home and more intentional about the offer they make. True, they may have to sacrifice some aspect of their dream home, but lower prices may compensate for that.
2. Sellers are motivated to make a deal. Buyers usually have the advantage during the winter months because sellers are often anxious to sell. Either they have a driving reason to list it or it failed to sell during the spring and summer. This leads them to
making better deals. In fact, sales prices in January are, on average, nine percent less than in June.
3. You see a home at its worst. The harsh conditions of winter can expose any issues a house may have and give you an idea of what the home looks like at its worst (unlike in spring and summer when it looks its best).
4. Banks close loans faster. Because it’s a less-busy time of year, banks can usually move more quickly through the closing process which means buyers get in their homes faster.
Selling a Home in Winter
Listing a home for sale in the winter could possibly improve the chances of it selling. Sure, there are fewer buyers in the market but there are some benefits to selling it this time of year.
1. There’s less competition. Because there are fewer homes listed, there is less competition in the market. Listed houses will get greater exposure to buyers who have fewer choices to consider.
2. Buyers are motivated. Home buyers shopping during the winter months tend to be more serious. Often, a life-changing event such as a job relocation has led them to home shop during this time of year.
3. Real estate agents have more time to give. Since winter is the slow season for real estate, agents have more time to dedicate to clients who are selling this time of year. That means more individual attention for the sellers and quicker response times on offers and negotiations.
4. Neighborhoods look inviting. Holiday decorations give neighborhoods a friendly, festive vibe that makes buyers feel welcome.
While buying and selling a home during the winter may seem counterintuitive based on conventional thinking, homes do move during this time of year. These are just a few of the advantages that make it the perfect time of year to shop for or list a home.