When you talk about the best time of year to buy a home, spring is the season that comes to most people’s minds. And it makes sense — the last thing you feel like doing in frigid temps is trekking from open house to open house.
But if you’re ready to start house hunting, there’s no reason to put your search on hold. Winter can, in fact, be a great time to think about buying a house. Here’s why.
1. YOU FACE SIGNIFICANTLY LESS COMPETITION
Many potential home buyers wait until the spring to house hunt because that’s when more inventory goes on the market. But a winter search means less competition — and thus, more breathing room to put in an offer. That can make the whole bidding process a lot less stressful.
2. HOME SELLERS ARE MOTIVATED
Because spring is peak real estate season, some home sellers like to use that time to test the market to see how much they can get; it doesn’t necessarily mean they have true intent to sell. By contrast, those who put their house on the market in the winter tend to be highly motivated — and if they need to sell because of a forced move, like getting a new job out of state, they may be particularly willing to make a deal. This can give homebuyers an edge when it comes to negotiating.
3. LESS INVENTORY MAY EQUAL COST SAVINGS
Historically, there are fewer homes available for sale during the winter season. According to Zillow, about 992,000 homes were sold from December 2018 to February 2019, compared to more than 1.3 million homes sold between March 2019 and May 2019.
But price-sensitive shoppers can benefit from having fewer choices. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median price for a home sold in January 2019 was $305,400. Compare that to April 2019, when the median price tag was $339,000 — the highest price recorded so far for the year.
4. MOVING IS CHEAPER
With fewer people uprooting themselves during the winter months, moving companies may be willing to cut you a deal. The caveat? Moving your possessions in inclement weather can be a pain. But a professional mover will know how to safely transport your furniture and belongings to your new home, even in snowy weather.
5. YOUR AGENT WON’T BE AS BUSY
Want your real estate agent’s undivided attention? You’re more likely to get it during the winter, when he or she will have extra time to show you homes, negotiate offers and be available throughout the home buying process, including the home inspection.
6. YOUR LENDER WON’T BE AS BUSY
Fewer sales also mean mortgage lenders have more time to pay attention to your loan. Your mortgage may even get approved faster because your lender’s underwriter will be more likely to provide a quick turnaround.
7. YOU’LL SEE HOW YOUR HOME STANDS UP TO COLD WEATHER
Trudging through snow to attend a home inspection won’t be high on your list of fun winter activities, but there are advantages to attending one when temperatures are harsh. For starters, you can see how your potential home will fare in snow, ice storms or heavy winds, and you’ll also have an opportunity to assess the insulation and determine if there are any drafts. By uncovering flaws during a winter home inspection, you’ll be in a better position to negotiate repairs — and help ensure that come next winter, your home will be the cozy place you want it to be.