While spring and summer are generally considered prime seasons for buying a home, sometimes you can’t decide exactly when you need to look for a new place to live. If you find yourself house hunting in wintertime, there are a few things you can do to take advantage of the season as a homebuyer.
The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently jointly announced the latest data on new home sales, and in the last year the most homes sold in March, April, and May. While it’s true that your market might have less inventory available during winter months compared to other times of the year, the number of buyers looking for homes is lower during winter months.
As a homebuyer, with less competition you might be able to get the house you want for less, since there’s less demand among buyers (and fewer buyers buying). There could be a lower chance of getting into a bidding war with multiple offers being put on a house, and you could also leverage knowledge of a motivated seller looking to sell quickly to your advantage — and potentially get a lower sale price. It’s all about negotiation!
Let’s step into the sellers’ shoes: Because there are not as many people in the market buying a home in winter, sellers could be more likely to offer things like covering closing costs, throwing in appliances or upgrades, or make other concessions to help close a sale — especially if prospective buyers ask for things. It’s a good idea as a buyer to have your real estate agent inquire about the seller’s reason for selling, because if they’re needing to move to another area quickly, then they’re might be more likely to accept your offer. You can also ask about how long a house has been on the market to learn whether you can leverage that information as a negotiating factor as well.
As long as the home you’re buying is occupied and all utilities are running, you should be able to get a first-hand experience with how the home stays (or doesn’t stay) warm. While summertime house hunting can allow you test the quality of the air conditioning unit, you can learn whether windows or doors let cold air in during winter months. If there are substantial drafts coming inside, you might want to factor in costs for replacing doors or windows into your offer.
No matter what time of year you’re buying a home, make sure to do your homework ahead of time and learn what interest rate and terms you could qualify for, and determine how much home you can afford. When it’s time to start shopping for your new home, get in touch with Mr. Cooper.