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Buying a Home During Winter

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Spring and summer are the most popular seasons for house-hunting.

But that shouldn’t stop you from looking for your dream home in the middle of winter. Though icy driveways and snowed-out open houses can be less than thrilling, there might be some surprising benefits to purchasing a home during the coldest time of year.

Let’s explore the various aspects of buying a home in the winter.

The advantages

Although you might have fewer houses to choose from in winter, you’ll also deal with more motivated sellers. You’ll also find some homes that have been on the market since the previous spring—which means the seller is even more motivated. Plus, the smaller pool of buyers during the winter puts you at an immediate advantage. These factors will make it easier to negotiate a lower price.

You'll deal with more motivated sellers and be able to negotiate.

You can also use your favorable position to ask the seller to throw in extras—like window treatments, light fixtures, or appliances.

Buying a home in the winter can also mean enjoying better service from all the professionals you work with, since your real estate agent, inspector, lender, and movers will generally have fewer clients before the spring rush.

Finally, inspecting a home in the winter will enable you to see how the house handles harsh weather. You’ll also be able to check out the heating system so there are no surprises after moving into the home.

The challenges

House-hunting in the winter has a few disadvantages.

It can be difficult to check out a property that’s covered in ice or is muddy/waterlogged. A lush yard of trees, bushes, and blossoming flowers can look stark and bare during cold winter months. There will also be some structural elements, like the septic tank, roof, and A/C system, that can be difficult (or impossible) to inspect in the winter. With fewer hours of daylight, it can also be harder to get a good look at the home, especially if your schedule isn’t flexible for home viewing.

Home-shopping during the winter also means working with fewer options on the market. Sellers know that spring is peak season, so many choose to wait until the weather warms up to put their home up for sale.

Before you go house hunting

Keep these tips in mind before you give your agent a call:

  • To see the property in its prime, ask the seller to provide pictures showcasing the yard, pool, patio, or garden during the spring or summer months.
  • For home features that are difficult or impossible to inspect because of weather, have the seller provide the following: proof of the last roof inspection or replacement, the most recent day of service for the septic tank (if applicable), and the age of the A/C unit.
  • Unexpected weather events may delay some parts of the home-buying process, like the inspection, appraisal, or even the closing. Be sure to keep this in mind when thinking about your timeline.

The real estate market may cool during winter, but if you know how to overcome the challenges and optimize the advantages, you can walk away with a hot deal on a home during the coldest time of year. Whether you’re shopping for your first home or looking to downsize, shopping for a new home in the winter may not be conventional, but it can mean finding your ideal home quickly, easily, and for a far better price. And along the way, SELCO Mortgage can help answer questions about your new mortgage loan. Happy hunting!

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