Common real estate wisdom tells us that spring and summer are the prime seasons for house hunting and moving. People are more likely to get out and shop when the weather is nice. It's a more plesant time of year, and sellers think their yard looks better when it is not covered in snow. Yet there are some very logical and compelling reasons for going shopping for a home and for moving over the winter as well.
As we know, moving and real estate often go hand in hand, and though we'd like to dictate when we move and when we buy a house, very often other curcumstances can emerge and cause us to be forced to sell or move at any time of year. Here are my top 8 reasons to buy real estate over the winter. You CAN benefit from house hunting in the snow.
1. Fewer or No muliple Offers
With less active buyers looking for good deals, there is little or no chance of multiple or competing offers during this time of year. I've even been involved in negotating multiple offers where the home SOLD still for under the list price.
2. Better Personal Prompt Service
Many service providers are slower over the winter months. REALTORs, mortgage brokers, insurance providers, movers, lawyers, accountants, you name it... they are not as busy this time of year. Allowing them to focus more of their time on serving you!
3. Home Sellers are Motivated
Sellers this time of year have often had their home on the market for months. They are typically worn out from trying to sell over the summer and fall, and many of them NEED to sell. Sellers who have been sitting on the market for while are more willing to negotiate.
4. Expired/Withdrawn Listing Inventory
If you have a great agent working for you, buyers can and should shop the "expired" and "withdrawn" listing inventory. These are the homes that were listed and failed to sell. This inventory has it's largest selection this time of year. Many of these home sellers are willing to negotiate a deal so they can move on to their next chapter of their life.
5. Better Closing Options
With more time and less overall busyness in the market, this is a great time of year to make an offer and do your proper due diligence. Buyers can move quickly now and have a more open schedule from service providers, when typically everyone in the spring is in a rush.
6.Sellers than NEED to SELL
Unfortuantely some home owners find themselves in a situation where they NEED to SELL. Life changes and circumstances emerge that cause them to have to get their home sold and the equity out. If you are looking over the winter months, you see this deals pop up and sell fast. Over 20% of the years total transactions happen over the winter months. So if you are not shopping over the winter you may miss out on the great bargain deal you have always been looking for.
7. Contingencies and Subject to Sale Offers Acceptable
If you want to find a new home before selling your current home, winter is a great time to make an offer "subject to the sale" of your home. Once you have an accepted offer on your new home, you will know exactly where you are going and how much you are paying, allowing you to make a better decsion in selling your current home.
8. Having More Time
When home shopping over the winter time, you generally have more time to look, and then make your decision. During the spring and fall, often a buyer will be viewing a home, and another buyer has already seen it and is presenting an offer on that home, that very same day. This causes buyers to need to make a decision quickly. Often there is not as many "events" taking up your schedule and time over the winter as well. Allowing you more time to focus on completing all the due diligence required.
So brave the cold, and put on your winter coat, and lets get out there and house hunt! Remember that in Canada, it is still a great time to invest in real estate. Prices will continue to rise and interest rates are very low.
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