Pros And Cons of Buying a Home in the Winter
01.05.2022 | Category: Homebuying
Winter is a magical time of year. Twinkling lights. Crisp cold air. Family gathered around warm fires.
And while the hustle and bustle of the holiday season isn't always when a homebuyer feels it's the right time to home shop, there are many perks to consider buying during the winter months.
From less competition to typically lower home prices, faster closing times and motivated sellers, learn why winter might just be the best time to buy.
Most buyers want to purchase in the summer months when kids are out of school and it's easier to make a big family change. Even families without kids find it easier to tour multiple properties in the summer months as opposed to winter months when weather might make traveling more challenging.
With that said, you may find putting an offer on a home a bit easier with less competition. With fewer buyers in the mix, you’ll be more likely to win a bidding war if you’re in an especially competitive market, or even possibly avoid a bidding war altogether.
Faster escrow closing
Most home loans are processed in the spring and summer months when home sales surge. With less loans to process in the winter months, loan processors can move through your loan quicker than in other times of the year.
Keep in mind federal holidays may cause some small delays with your loan closing, but loans processed in January or February will likely be handled with much more efficiency than in the spring months of April or May.
Sellers listing their homes in winter generally do so out of need, not necessarily desire. Companies tend to restructure and relocate in the first quarter of business, leading to an influx of employee relocations. This can oftentimes give homebuyers a slight advantage.
This is a great time to consider a job transition or to go after that new promotion in a new region and primes you to best negotiate workplace benefits associated with a potential move, as well as moving costs like household appliances, furniture and home maintenance.
On a more somber note, studies suggest couples wait until after the holiday season to split, leading to a spike in separations in the new year. If the couple lives together, the new living arrangement post-separation can lead to very motivated sellers eager to settle and move on.
These two trends give many homebuyers looking to purchase in the winter months a slight advantage over their summer home seekers. However, keep in mind that inventory is still low nationwide, creating demand in nearly all markets. Be sure to work with a reputable agent that can be sure you determine an appropriate offer.
Lower home prices
With most homeowners waiting until spring to list, there’s often less inventory but those who are looking to sell list lower to sell faster. This trend can cause a slight decrease in an area’s typical home price.
In addition, if a homeowner listed in summer or fall and didn’t see an offer come through, winter might be when the homeowner drops the price in hopes to sell before the new year. This is rarer in today’s more competitive market, but if you’re looking to upgrade or purchase a sizable property, this is the time of year you can typically see luxury home prices slashed.
Inclement weather showings
While you can get a pretty good idea of a property through photos, you can learn a lot about a home by visiting it in person. Add wind, rain and snow to the mix, and you will get a much better idea of how well your home can withstand a storm in the winter months. This will provide a superior picture of how the structure, electric, gas and landscape all hold up in hard weather.
If you’re not looking to fix a heater or replace drafty windows, the winter months may give you the best idea of a home that’s in great condition without need for repairs.
Final note on buying in winter versus spring
Whether you’re ready to buy now or feel you should wait for spring, market trends vary from region to region and it’s always best to make sure you research home prices in the area you’re looking to buy and work with a reputable real estate agent.
It’s equally important to ensure your finances are prepared. If you were pre-approved in the spring and took a break from home shopping, you may need to renew your pre-approval status with your lender.
If you’re ready to start putting bids on the perfect winter home, be sure to contact Mutual of Omaha Mortgage loan officer, who can help make sure you get the most out of home buying this season.