Winter House Shopping

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Pros and cons of winter house shopping

 

I have an investor mindset when it comes to real estate and I know there are deals to find in hot and cold markets. There are deals to be found in the summer and the winter seasons. There’s no sweeping statement to be made when it comes to when the “best” and “worst” times are to buy a home. All you can do is educate yourself–on your market, the area you’re looking into and the price range you want, and use this knowledge to start your journey.

The goal of this article is to help you make an educated decision and determine if buying a house in the winter is a good or bad idea for you.


Let’s start with the pros list. Are you buying a home this winter? Great, because…

 

FEWER PEOPLE ARE LOOKING…

Do you feel lazier in the winter? Are you just trying to survive all of the family time and the shorter days? Yes? Well, that’s how most of the population is feeling as well. It’s an opportune time to get your home search on. More than half of the population is at home with Netflix. Be that proactive person who is working to find their dream home while everyone else is waiting for that fantastic Austin Spring weather to begin their search.

 

FEWER PEOPLE ARE WORKING…

You get the full attention of your real estate team. Because winter tends to be a slower time for real estate, everyone else in the industry has a slow schedule as well. That means those appraisers and home inspectors who are usually slammed, have time for you. And the turnaround time for these reports is much shorter. Your realtor probably has fewer clients, and that means more time to show you homes at your convenience. If you’ve never gone through a home purchase before, you don’t realize how nice it is to be in constant communication with your lender. They have all the finance knowledge and can have your homes fate in their hands. When they are less busy, you have them all to yourselves. How nice.

 

THERE’S MORE ROOM TO NEGOTIATE…

Negotiation is probably the best part about buying in the winter. If you want a great deal, start looking for homes that have been sitting on the market since the summer. All the buyers have forgotten about them! They aren’t the new and shiny listings anymore. You know what the problem is with most of these homes? They are priced too high! Yes, maybe a buyer or two has tried to offer lower in the past, and their offer wasn’t accepted. But that was months ago, and now the sellers may be willing to come to terms with dropping the price of their home. Why not ask them to pay for your closing costs while you’re at it? This isn’t something you can necessarily do in the spring or summer when all the buyers are out and looking. Make a list of homes you want to make an offer on and write down what the highest amount you’re willing to pay for each. Would you be ok with only a $5k price drop if that means they will cover your closing costs? You can try for everything (within reason) but don’t get too emotionally attached if you’re looking for a real deal.


Ok, moving on to the cons. Are you picky when it comes to what you want in a home? Well, just consider…

 

THERE WILL BE LESS INVENTORY…

Sellers are lazy in the winter as well, and they know that fewer buyers are looking. Many sellers are waiting to list their house until the spring. If you have a long list of things you want in a home, then the winter may not be the best time for you to look.

 

THE DAYS ARE SHORTER…

Winter home searching means less inventory and fewer hours in the day to see houses in the daylight if you have a job with inflexible hours. That’s not a deal breaker for most, but what about natural sunlight? Most of my clients think it’s essential. So, unless you have a flexible schedule to see that unicorn house that just hit the market, you may only get to look at homes during the weekends.


Bottom Line: There are many other factors to consider when deciding when the best time to buy is. Honestly, there’s no right and wrong answer. You will have to make this decision on your own. Don’t overcomplicate this. If you are ready, willing, and able to buy a home, waiting will only hurt you in the long run. We all fear the unknown, and no matter how much information you collect, you’ll never really know everything until you go out and experience it for yourself.If you’d like to talk more about your options feel free to reach out!

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
–Chinese Proverb