5 Reasons to go house hunting this winter season.
Everyone knows that Spring is the best time to buy a house.
Just as conventional wisdom once considered the earth flat, it can often be unproductive, and just downright silly, to follow the masses.
Turns out this can also be true of the real estate market.
Sure, you can race the neighbors to mount For Sale signs as soon as the sun peeks out in spring. You can flock with the crowds to real estate offices where agents are dusting themselves off, preparing for the frenzy of another buying season. You can swarm with the multitudes to packed open houses and…I think you get the point.
There are a few problems with buying a house in the spring:
- Even though the inventory of houses will be high, so too will the volume of buyers looking for houses – competition is at a yearly high during this time.
- Because people want to buy within a certain timeframe (i.e. ready to move in when the kids finish school), they are prone to paying more for their home.
- Because of the mad dash to the market, an unusually large volume of closings are scheduled in May – in fact, most people select the last Friday of the month as their closing date. The problem? Title companies are inundated with unmanageable volume, which can add to the stress of completing the deal.
But there is another option.
Yes. You read that correctly.
Although the holidays are typically a time for laser focus on family cheer – if you do your research, it just might be easier (and cheaper) to find your dream home.
Here are 5 reasons the winter season can be a good time to buy a house:
Although there may be fewer houses on the market, there is significantly less competition from other buyers during Christmas week, so it is highly unlikely that you’ll get into a bidding war that could drive the price up.
Let’s face it, selling a house in winter can be downright inconvenient. However…therein lies the opportunity. If a seller has gone to the trouble of listing their property outside of the standard selling season, they probably need to move the property quickly and are highly motivated to sell. This can give you a significant advantage when negotiating the price of the house, and the seller is likely to be more direct, without the back and forth that can ensue when trying to land on a price. All in all, the process can be more direct with kerfuffle kept to a minimum. And no-one likes kerfuffle.
The Price Might Be Right
Although it seems like prices are always on the rise, they often drop to a 12-month low in December. This means you have more leverage with your first offer because you won’t feel the pressure to be aggressive right off the bat. Because appreciation usually slows during these months, you might be able to strike while the weather is cold.
Faster mortgage approval
As we read earlier, lenders also feel the crunch of everyone and their brothers clamouring to close deals at the same time. Around the new year, lenders have a much calmer schedule, and less volume could mean your loans are approved more quickly, making it easier to move through the buying process. Not only that, because lenders have more time, you can shop around for the best deal rather than jumping at the first offer that comes your way.
The Eggnog Factor
Christmas is a time of year that bubbles with good cheer. And eggnog. This may sound silly, but you might be able to take advantage of the festive mood – you might find yourself on the receiving end of some generosity for no other reason than, hey, tis the season! And if there’s eggnog around…all the more likely. If locked in negotiation, you can use the line – “Come on…it’s Christmas…just sign the papers!”
Warren Buffet made a lot of money shirking conventional wisdom in his investments. If you’re interested in what might be out there this winter season, get in touch with our team to test the waters.
You never know what you might find.