Winter is the perfect time of year for plenty of things: making snow angels, going ice skating, and drinking hot cocoa by the fire are all things that come to mind. But do you know what else winter is the perfect time of year for? Buying a home. There's no better time to find your dream home than the winter months. Here are five reasons why winter is the perfect time to find a home:
1. There's less competition
One of the best reasons to purchase a home during the winter is that there's typically less competition. Winter isn't the most popular time of the year to move; kids are still in school and potential buyers with children tend to wait until spring or summer to start looking to avoid having to pull their children out of school. And because there's less buyers on the market, you'll face less competition on the homes you're interested in. You're also less likely to face multiple offer situations when the market is less competitive — which means that when you find a home you love and put in an offer, you're not going to be up against anyone else, which greatly increases the chance of your offer being accepted.
2. Prices are more competitive
Another major benefit of buying a home in the winter is that the pricing is more competitive. This means that in the winter, you're far more likely to get a deal on your home than spring or summer. In fact, recent research shows that while buyers paid $1500 more than the sale price of the average US home during the peak spring season. But in the winter? They paid $3100 less.
3. You'll deal with more motivated sellers
Another plus of buying in the winter? Because there aren't as many buyers on the market, sellers are much more motivated to sell — which means they'll be much more willing to negotiate with you. That can mean anything from coming down on the price, covering some (or all) of your closing costs, working with you on the closing date, or even throwing in extra appliances to sweeten the deal. If you buy during the peak season, sellers don't have as much incentive to negotiate since there's a lot of competition, so do yourself a favor and buy in the winter when sellers are much more motivated to get their home sold.
4. You get to see how your new home holds up in the cold
If you live in an area with harsh winters, another benefit of buying a home in the winter is that you get to see how your potential new home will hold up in the cold — while it's actually cold outside. If you buy during the warmer months, your new home may look great. But when winter rolls around you might find that the chill in the air travels from outside to inside, or that your home is properly insulated to keep ice from building up on the exterior. Bottom line: When you buy in the winter, you get to see your potential new home's winter performance before you buy. You can make sure that your house has proper heating and insulation instead of buying in summer and hoping for the best — which can be an expensive mistake.
5. You get to take advantage of your real estate agent's slow season
Because the winter months are typically slower in the real estate industry, your agent likely doesn't have as many clients as they would in the peak season — which logically means you'll probably get more of their attention. A great real estate agent will always take care of you — no matter how busy they are. But there are only so many hours in the day, and during the peak season, he/she will likely have multiple clients they need to split their attention between. But less real estate activity in the winter means less clients for your real estate agent, which means they have more time and energy to devote to you and your home search. They'll be more available to research potential homes, show you new properties, and answer your questions — which will make your home search easier, faster, and more enjoyable. As you can see, winter just might be the perfect time to buy a home. So bundle up, call your agent, and get out there and find your new home!