Though spring and summer are considered the most popular seasons of the year to buy a home, don’t let winter weather and the holidays deter you from purchasing in the off-season. In fact, the best day of the year to buy a home is in late October, in regards to getting the best price deal. If you’re trying to decide whether or not to brave the weather or wait until spring, here are some pros and cons of winter homebuying.
Pro: There are usually less homebuyers in the market during the winter months.
A common homebuying fear is losing out to another buyer in a bidding war. Less competition means more time for you to carefully consider a home purchase without the threat of multiple competing offers.
Con: There is usually less inventory though, too.
If you don’t have a lot of wiggle room in your home’s wants and needs, winter might not be the optimal time to start your home search. Inventory tends to drop off significantly in December, meaning buyers may have to compromise on what features their home purchase has (though they might score a really good deal).
Pro: You may find sellers are particularly motivated.
Many sellers who choose to list in the winter have a reason for selling at that time, such as a job relocation. Or some of the houses on the market in the winter may not have sold even though they’ve been listed since late summer. Both situations may mean you’ll find more accommodative and/or motivated sellers.
Con: You may have to move in inclement weather.
This downside needs little explanation. Snow storms and moving aren’t extremely compatible.
Pro: You’ll see the home’s exterior in its truest state.
You’d be amazed how landscaping and lush trees can hide flaws on a home’s exterior. Bare trees and bushes allow you to really take a look at the condition of the home.
Con: You’ll also have to visualize the summertime curb appeal.
Curb appeal is a huge selling point in the summer, so you’ll have to do your best to visualize what a prospective home and yard might look like come springtime.
Pro: You can see for yourself the efficiency of the home’s windows, doors and furnace in keeping the home warm.
If you’re budgeting for utility costs, buying a home in the winter gives you ample opportunity to get a feel for how well a home is sealed and how well the furnace keeps up.
Regardless, the right time of the year to buy a home is when it’s right for you. If you’re considering purchasing your first home in 2016, download our free Mortgage 101 Handbook for everything you need to know about the homebuying and financing process.