It is well known that spring is the busiest season for home sales. But just because spring is a busier real estate season than the others, it doesn’t make it necessarily better for buyers. Buying a home in winter has its advantages, but also brings its own set of challenges. Though these challenges may apply less in our sunny Southern California climates, there are still things to consider when purchasing a home during winter as opposed to the spring season.
#1: Less Competition
As we jump into 2018, home prices are rising steadily (if not strongly) in most of the U.S. In 2017, nearly 25% of homes sold in a bidding war, pushing up prices further.
Pros.One of the best reasons to buy a home in the winter is there are fewer buyers looking, so there is inherently less competition for the homes that are listed for sale in your neighborhood.
Cons. On the other hand, sellers often wait until later in the spring to list their home for sale. (The number of homes on the market is often referred to as the “housing inventory.”) Fewer homes listed means there will be fewer homes to see and choose from.
#2 Sellers Are Motivated
In the winter, many homeowners are distracted by the holidays and keeping their home in spotless condition for showings becomes less important. But sellers who do decide to sell at this time of year are often motivated to sell quickly.
Pros. When a seller is motivated, they’re often willing to negotiate on price, closing costs, the closing date or what will be included in the terms of the deal, whether it’s furniture, appliances, or light fixtures.
Cons. Some winter listings are there because the property has been for sale for awhile. It’s become “stale” (in real estate terminology) and those sellers may feel a little burnt by the whole process. While these sellers should be motivated, they’re often not, and if you go in with a lowball offer, you might find it rejected outright rather than being countered.
#3 Inclement Weather Showings
Today, most agents post dozens of photos of the interior and exterior of a home online. While you can see a lot about a property online, there’s nothing like going to visit it in person.
However, there are some pros and cons to doing it during the worst weather of the year.
Pros. When you see a home in the middle of a snowstorm, in the rain, or when the wind is blowing, you get to see a property at its worst, and gives you insight as to how the structure, mechanicals, and hardscape perform under adverse conditions.
Cons. You may not be able to spend as much time inspecting the exterior as you would on a fine, dry day.
The bottom line: If you’re ready to buy a home, there’s no need to wait for a change of seasons to find the right home.
**Excerpts from article by Ilyce R. Glink | www.freddiemac.com via Economic Focus