5 Tips For Buying a Home During Winter
Updated: Dec 18, 2019
Sure, the peak real estate selling season occurs in the summer and spring seasons, but this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to buy a home in the fall or winter. In fact, there are a number of reasons it might be beneficial for you to go house hunting in the winter. Most homebuyers don’t become active until the peak selling season, which means you won’t have as much competition, and you can avoid those terrifying bidding wars. Here are five tips for buying a home in the winter:
Don’t be afraid to negotiate — Someone that is selling real estate in the winter is most likely a motivated seller, which means that they couldn’t wait until the peak selling season in order to list their property. Keeping this in mind, in addition to the fact that there probably isn’t much buyer competition, there’s a good chance that you can negotiate the price since no seller wants to keep their property on the market for too long.
Check out rental listings — You may not be looking to rent yourself, but you may be able to uncover a hidden gem by looking through rental listings. Landlords tend to aggressively market their properties during the winter in order to get tenants in by spring. However, they may be willing to sell their property depending on how their rental business is doing and whether the price is right. This can be a great way to find a home that isn’t listed.
Do your homework beforehand — One of the reasons the winter is not a popular time for homebuyers to go house hunting is that nobody wants to walk around in the cold weather while doing so. To make sure you know what you are looking for so that you’re not wasting time being uncomfortable, research what neighborhoods you are interested in by reading up on school districts, recreational opportunities, local amenities, commute times and more.
Imagine the home during the spring — Try to picture what the house you are looking at will look like during the spring and summer seasons. You might be able to look up the address on Google Maps in order to find a street view during this time of the year. Another option is to ask the seller if they have any pictures of their property during the non-winter seasons. If they’re smart, they will, since this makes selling a home during the winter much easier.
Look for specific faulty features — A home inspection during the winter is different than an inspection during the summer. This is because there are a number of features that can be difficult to test during the winter months, such as the home’s air conditioning system. Other features, such as pools, outdoor kitchens and irrigation systems, can be difficult to test, and they may have problems you won’t discover until after winter has ended. To get around this potential problem, you can include a security deposit into the deal with the seller to protect you in case these types of features don’t function properly. Another option is to request that the seller provide warranties on some of the home’s appliances.
Winter may not be the peak real estate season, but that shouldn’t stop you from finding a new home. Just make sure you keep in mind such tips as knowing that you are in a good position to negotiate and being wary of having a home inspection performed in the winter