Buyers are often told that the best time to look for a home is in the spring, when sellers come out of hibernation in force. Options are at their peak, and scouring the city for a dream home can be less of a chore when the weather is warm and the flowers are in full bloom.
But here’s a well-kept secret: Colder weather months bring significant advantages. In fact, “house hunters willing to brave the cold might be rewarded with a great deal,” notes a recent article from Fox Business.
Fox Business and other experts note that fall/winter buyers will enjoy:
Less competition: Fewer buyers are out at this time of year, which means fewer buyers to compete with for a home. As a result, you’re likely to face fewer bidding wars and will have some welcome breathing room to consider any homes that interest you.
Better prices: Sellers who list their homes in the fall and winter are generally highly motivated. “A seller probably doesn’t want to sit with the house through the winter months, particularly if they don’t live there anymore and have to make sure the home’s being maintained and safe,” one broker explained to Fox Business. Sellers are often willing to discount the price to avoid such a scenario, and fewer buyers means better negotiating power overall.
Cold weather inspections: Winter puts stresses on a home like no other time of the year. Inspectors are better equipped to assess what’s working well – including heating, plumbing, and insulation – when the systems are operating at full capacity.
Faster closing process: “Despite winter home-searching challenges, the closing process tends to be speedier,” notes Rocket Mortgage. “Lenders process fewer applications during this season. Real estate professionals are usually more accessible, and inspectors have less backlog.”