Do Lower Temperatures Mean Lower Costs? Find Out Why Winter Is the Time to Buy a Home
Less Competition Means Less Money
This winter (well, from November through January), right around one million people will buy a new home or property, or so says a recent article on Forbes.com. And though this number of transactions completely pales in comparison to what happens in a good month during the summer, it also means that winter is more of buyer’s market than what we normally might think.
Many homeowners hoping to sell do not want to deal with shopping for a new home and moving during the holidays. Those with families may be reluctant to do so during the entire school year. For these reasons, there are fewer properties available over the winter months, but there are far fewer buyers, as well. This confluence of conditions forces sellers to keep properties on the market longer.
Prices Don’t Rise Incrementally Throughout the Year
According to real estate market expert Lawrence Yun, the real estate market typically gains between three and five percent in an average year, and six percent in a good year. But these price gains aren’t realized at a steady pace throughout the year.
Typically, prices go up beginning in the spring and top out toward the end of summer. Following the high mark, prices have a tendency to pull back a bit in the fall, with home buyers who get a property under contract in December for a January closing usually scoring the best deals.
Less Competition Means Fewer Bidding Wars
If you are looking for a property in an extremely hot market like San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, or San Diego for instance, then buying in the winter may mean that you can actually take your time and look at a variety of homes in your price range without feeling compelled to make an offer on the first home that narrowly meets your need for fear of it being snapped up in five minutes by someone as equally desperate or hungry.
See the Property at Its Worst
According to the good folks at the Financial Samurai website, winter home viewing has an extra, added benefit: looking at properties when they are at their worst. The leaves have fallen, the view from the curb is one of unobscured curb appeal, or the lack thereof.
Let’s face it — no matter the home, it probably looks its best in early summer, with lawn, garden, and shrubbery at its lushest, in the slanting light of late June evening. If you like the home in the relatively low light of winter, then you really like the home. Plus, you can really test out the heating system and feel the weatherization of the home for yourself in winter.
Buy When the Mercury and the Market Drop
For all of these reasons — the cold light of winter, the lack of competition, the slump in prices, the desperation of the sellers — buying a property in the winter just makes good sense. So, whether you’re looking for your first home or your third investment property, slap on those boots and get out there to see what deals you can find this season!
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