You’ve probably heard it said that the real estate industry slows down during the winter months. Every year, more than half of the real estate transactions that are completed in the United States happen between April and July. Spring and summer are typically considered peak season for real estate transactions, and there are plenty of reasons for that.
First of all, there are more daylight hours during those months. Since most of the people who have access to the mortgages that they need in order to buy a home have jobs, it makes sense that they will go look at potential homes during the evenings and on weekends. Since the sun sets earlier during wintertime, it’s harder for potential buyers to see homes in the daylight, which contributes to slowing down the market.Read More »
Finally, there are economic factors that contribute to the real estate market slowing down during the holiday season. Beginning in November, Americans spend billions of dollars on Christmas presents every year. In fact, a recent study indicates that Americans expect to spend $997.73 on Christmas presents in 2022. When people are more focused shopping for Christmas presents, they typically plan on waiting to make a big purchase such as a home when things settle back down in the spring.
Does that mean that you, as a buyer, should wait until spring? Absolutely not! Everyone’s financial position is different, and it’s important that you understand that there are plenty of benefits associated with pulling the trigger on a real estate transaction during the winter. Just because the market is slowing down doesn’t mean that you have to. In fact, you can put yourself in a better position to get a great deal on a home by striking before the iron gets hot in your local real estate industry.
You Get More Serious Sellers
If you know a real estate agent, you’ve probably heard horror stories about buyers and sellers who call them about buying or selling a home but prove to not be very serious about the whole thing. Since real estate agents work on a commission-based pay scale, there is nothing they can do to avoid these people who simply want to gather information about the market but do so under the guise of wanting to make a deal.
If you live in an area where a lot of homes go on the market during spring and summer, it’s highly likely that at least a portion of those homes are not really going to be sold. That’s because the sellers aren’t really motivated to sell, and instead, are just wanting to see if someone will come along and offer them a ridiculous amount for their home. Finding motivated sellers is one of the most important aspects of getting a great deal on a home.
When you find a home that is for sale during the off-peak season of winter, it’s probably because the sellers are serious about trying to sell their home. When sellers need to relocate because of work, family, or any of the other reasons that cause people to move, they will leave their houses on the market until they get a deal. If you find a home that has been listed for a while and is still on the market during the winter, it’s much easier to get a better price. Motivated sellers are usually willing to negotiate.
Better Time for Inspections
Before you purchase a home, you will probably want to have a professional inspection performed on the property. Wintertime is a great opportunity to determine how weatherproof a home really is. If you have these inspections performed during spring and summer, there are some potential issues that you won’t be able to check for. However, having a home inspection during the coldest part of the year gives you an even more thorough look at problems that are present within the property.
One of the most important aspects of a home inspection involves checking to see how good the HVAC system works. If you walk in a home on a cold day and the home isn’t warm, you should take note of the fact that the HVAC system isn’t capable of keeping up. You can also discreetly hold your hand near the window of a home and see if there is cold air coming in around them. Poorly sealed homes are not only less comfortable, but they are also much less energy efficient.
When you have a home inspector show up, he or she will be able to look for even more detailed issues. For example, if they notice ice damming up along the gutters on the home, they will point out that the roof may have some insufficiencies. Home inspectors know how to look for the source of window condensation to help you find potential cracks in a home’s weather sealing. Finally, inspections also uncover mold, mildew, and other potential problems that are even more common during winter months.
If you want to see how a home can stand up to the elements, have the inspection performed during the winter. You will probably never find a time where the elements are working against a home as hard.
You May Find Lower Prices
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you may be able to get a lower price on a home if you decide to shop during the winter months. We’ve already established that sellers who have their homes listed during the winter are more serious about making a move. Also, it’s much easier for inspections to uncover defects in and on a property when the weather is rougher. Both of those facts come together to help put you in a position to pay less for a home than you would have to pay in typical market conditions.
In addition to motivated sellers and inspection results that include more defects, you are also less likely to end up in a bidding war during the winter. Sellers who want to get an offer that is higher than their asking price rely on competition between buyers. When you decide to get into the market in a time where there aren’t as many buyers in the market, it’s much less likely that you have to deal with stiff competition for a property.
The entire real estate industry revolves around the laws of supply and demand. When there are fewer buyers in the market, there is less demand. This decreased number of buyers leads to lower prices, which is great for you as a buyer. Many other buyers are saving their money in November and December as they make Thanksgiving travel plans and are shopping for Christmas gifts. This means that you can jump into a relatively empty market and get a great deal on a home.
When you’re in the market for a home, there is never a time that you shouldn’t be looking around. Yes, inventory may decrease during the winter months, but it’s common for sellers to be more committed to making a deal. Also, you will find that inspections reveal even more information, and that there is less competition from other buyers, making wintertime buying an even better idea for you.
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