As it gets colder out, so does the housing market. For most people, winter is a time for staying warm and celebrating the holidays. So, the thought of attending open houses are far from the minds of most would-be buyers.
What does this mean?
While holiday shoppers are obsessed with finding the ultimate gift deals—this presents an opportunity for savvy home shoppers. In fact, a study conducted from ATTOM Data Solutions found that nationwide, December held seven of the top 10 days where buyers snagged the best price discounts on a home purchase. So, get bundled up in your winter gear and learn the benefits of house hunting in the winter.
First, one of the benefits when shopping for a home in winter is that you’ll deal with less competition. This means that the odds of you being able to get the home you want is greater. Specifically, because you are less likely to worry about competing with multiple offers, participating in a bidding war can result in buyers making a higher offer than they really are comfortable with. Less competition means that you are more likely to keep the price within a range that is comfortable for you. This can be useful if you live in an area with a hot real estate market. However, with fewer buyers means that there will likely be fewer houses on the market because more sellers wait until spring to list their homes.
Second, when the market is hot, you have to move fast, and waiting could cost you to lose out on a house you like. In the winter, because there are usually fewer offers driving up the price of the home you want, you may be able to spend more time getting a feel for a house before you have to decide on it. Remember— don’t take too long, but you may be able to relieve yourself a tad of the pressure to make an offer quickly. You want to make sure you’re going to be happy with your new home.
Third, one of the biggest reasons that many buyers may transition from renting to buying is for the tax benefits. If you wait until January to buy, you won’t realize the tax advantages until the following year. Closing by December 31st may mean tax benefits for home buyers.
Forth, you get to witness the home’s durability. House hunting in winter allows you to see how your potential new home handles the harsh weather. Moving in the spring and summer is a lot easier. However, falling in love with a house even with the weather at its worst, you can be confident that living there will only get better!
Fifth, you may have more room for negotiation. When you’re putting an offer on a house that has multiple bids on it, it’s important to be careful what you ask for. Negotiation is all about who holds the cards, and in busy markets where houses receive many offers, they sell quickly without a ton of room for negotiation. But, when you have less competition, you have more room for the buyer to ask for a tad more from the seller.
While this may not apply to all markets and all homes—but the weather does impact the housing market. Depending on the type of weather your area has in the colder months, house hunting may not be too appealing. But if you are committed to finding your dream home sooner rather than later, you have the potential to get a better deal than you would during peak home-buying season.