With fewer buyers in the market to compete with, you may discover that winter is the perfect time to buy a home. Home sellers always want to get their home sold as quickly as possible, but when winter arrives and their home has not sold yet, you may find that some sellers are more willing to negotiate on price, contingencies, or repairs, for example.
Home Prices Are Lower
Home prices change with the seasons and in wintertime home prices often can be at their lowest, particularly in January and February. When you can take advantage of lower housing prices, it can increase your chances to afford the home you want.
During the winter months, there are fewer real estate transactions than there are in spring and summer. The fewer transactions mean mortgage lenders have fewer loans to process, title and escrow companies have fewer closings to process, and home inspectors have fewer inspections. All of these can be motivating factors that lead to quicker transactions and closings for everyone involved.
Home Sellers Are Motivated
Sometimes, a home on the market during the winter months is a “must sell” situation. Perhaps the seller is motivated to sell because of a job or life change. Real estate agents know these kinds of situations can result in a seller who is more willing to negotiate, whether it's on price, closing costs, or closing date.
In most markets, winter is when the available housing inventory is at its lowest. Lower inventory can mean fewer buyers to compete with on that home you want.
If there are fewer buyers in the market, the seller may be willing to negotiate on price. Fewer buyers competing for homes also means the chances of multiple offers on a single property decrease. Often, this results in buyers gaining the upper hand over sellers in the negotiations. The laws of supply and demand are always at work in real estate sales.
Real Estate Agents Can Focus on You
During the slower winter months, your real estate agent has more time to give you their undivided attention – they will be working harder for you. These low-activity months for sales encourage agents to try just that little bit harder to negotiate a sale. With extra time on their hands, they are better able to help you find the right home, negotiate the best deal, and close the transaction quickly.
You Get to Assess a Home’s Condition in Wintertime
Winter can be the toughest season for a home. The cold, moisture, and wind will test the home’s ability to insulate and protect its residents. When you view the home, you’ll get to assess first-hand how well the insulation works, for example. Significant problems are more likely to appear as well, such as if it’s drafty, if the HVAC system works well, and so on.
Buying a home in winter affords you the opportunity to discover things that otherwise might not be noticeable in warmer weather. Such information can be extremely useful in your decision-making and your negotiations about the final price of the home.
All of these reasons factor into why winter can be a more opportune time for homebuyers than sellers. As a buyer, you can benefit favorably, in ways you’re less likely to experience during peak selling seasons.