Why buy a home in winter? Well, usually there is less competition in the winter – sellers are more likely to accept a buyer’s terms. There might be lower inventory in the winter, but then again by the time spring rolls around, houses start getting four, five, six or even more offers.
So looking to buy a home in winter is kind of like getting on the highway before (or after) rush hour. What I tend to see is a surge in interest in my homebuyer seminars in January – everyone decides at one time to make a New Year’s resolution, and then usually many of those people find themselves in highly competitive home purchasing situations. Then you can add in the fact that your interest payments are tax deductible if you buy a home before the end of the year.
Another tip I tell my buyers is that when you are shopping for a home and it’s cold, rainy, or snowy outside, that is actually a good way to judge how soundly a home was built. Is that back bedroom drafty? Does the basement seem musty or damp? Does the paint on the windowsill look like it got wet and is starting to peel?
Winter is a good time for a buyer to start out and see homes, possibly get a good deal on one, and perhaps get the seller to make more remedies and repairs, as opposed to in the spring when buyers find they have to drop contingencies such as home inspections and punch lists in order to win an offer in a competitive situation.
Joseph Hudson is a Realtor with The Oakley Group at Compass. Reach him at 703-587-0597 or Joseph.firstname.lastname@example.org.