Every year around this time inevitably someone asks me whether winter is a good time to buy and I think people are often surprised by my answer.
The assumption is that everyone is busy with holiday festivities or wintery weather keeps them at home, but in reality I’ve always found this time of year to be a great time to buy a home for several reasons.
First and foremost, there is less competition. During the Winter, many buyers are sitting out, delaying their house hunting until the Spring. That means more opportunity for buyers to negotiate on price and terms.
A realtor.com survey shows 32% of sellers paid some or all of their buyer’s closing costs. This is something we don’t generally don’t see during other times of year and can be a great negotiation tool. Just keep in mind, limits on closing cost credits are set by your lender and can vary by state and loan type
Contingencies Are More Common
With less competition comes more opportunity. Over the past few years buyers have been willing to waive contingencies such as financing, appraisal or inspection. In a slower paced market buyers are often able to do their full due diligence before moving forward with the purchase.
A recent survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the percentage of buyers waiving their home inspection or appraisal is down and that more sellers are accepting contingencies.
Sellers are Serious
Sellers who are actively on the market this time of year are typically not just testing the water, but are serious about selling. Perhaps they are relocating for a job or other life change. In my experience, when you are negotiating with sellers who have to move, the process is faster and more straightforward. There isn’t a lot of game playing.
Something Exciting to Celebrate
On more than one occasion, I’ve shown a house on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve morning and wrapped up the deal before 5pm that evening. It could seem like inconvenient timing but I’ve found the contrary to be true. People love going into their holiday celebrations with the excitement and happiness of buying or selling their home. It's one more thing to celebrate (or stress less about depending on your situation). It also gives you a natural, neutrally imposed deadline to close the deal.
Family is Around
Whether or not you want opinions from your family members is a personal choice and really depends on your family dynamics, but I’ve always found that extended family love to tag along on home showings. What better time than the holidays to do that? I’ve also seen a direct connection between bringing the folks along to look at a house when while they are visiting and perhaps obtaining gift money or some other form of support to help with the purchase. Those who are fortunate enough to be in a position of needing to gift money for tax purposes may find it beneficial to do so before the year ends.
Despite the extremely competitive housing market of the past several years, today’s data suggests negotiations are starting to come back to the table. If you have been considering a home purchase, it may be to your advantage to beat the Spring rush and go for the great deal that can be found today. If you are interested in learning more about the options send me a message. I’d love to connect.