Why Winter is the Best Season for House-Hunting

by Vincent King · 4 comments

The daisies dapple the fields with their vibrant colors. The robins are busy building their nests, preparing for the new additions to their family. The sun drips yellow gold across the landscape. The days are growing longer, and there’s a freshness and sense of rebirth in the air.

It’s springtime. And everything is bustling and busy.

When this time of year rolls around, we can’t help but get excited. Everything is thawing, changing, and growing. Nature, and even our own human body cycles, are resetting.

As are the housing markets.

Some people start scrambling to get their houses ready to be sold. Others begin the rush to see as many homes as possible, hoping to find their ideal place. Others fight for loans to close on the home of their dreams before the next guy steals it away from them.

Spring is lovely. But, it’s a difficult time to shop for a new home. The market is flooded with people shooting to do the same thing you are: get settled in their new abodes, so they can enjoy the coming summer.

There’s a better way: hit the market before everyone else does.

The winter may be bleak and gray, without much inspiration for change, but it’s the best time to search for a new house.

Why You Should House-Hunt in the Winter

It’s a good test

The cold weather is the perfect test for things like a home’s heating, plumbing, roofing, and gutters. It’s a great time to find out if they’re strong and in good working order. Damaged gutters can back up snow and ice under shingles, causing big problems for roofs. And if it’s snowy where you’re house-hunting, you’ll have a better chance of spotting problems before it’s too late.

You’ll get better rates

Mortgage rates are lower in the winter than the rest of the year. They’re also easier to get, because there are fewer people applying for mortgage loans during the slow season.

Deals are plentiful

During the winter, sellers are trying desperately to unload the home they’ve been trying to sell all year. So, you’ll be more likely to find a deal (and acceptance of your offer) during the bleak months of few shows and little hope. And, as a bonus, if you look around during December, you’ll likely find people anxious to unload before the end of the tax season.

Competition is scarce

There’s little competition for housing when it’s too cold to get out and see homes. This means that when you find a home you love, you’ll be less likely to lose it in a bidding war with another buyer.

What to Watch Out For

Shopping during this time of the year can have huge benefits, but only if you’re willing to work for them.

Agents, and also sellers, may be scarce when the weather’s bad. That’s okay. Be persistent and look for an agent who’s willing to work quickly to make things happen — so you spend less time in the ravaging elements and more time preparing to move.

Get an extended warranty. You may have had the benefit of seeing the roof, heating, and plumbing in the midst of some tough tests, but that doesn’t replace the peace of mind that comes with a home warranty. If you don’t want to cover the cost yourself, you’re in a perfect position to ask the seller to cover it for you.

It may take a little more imagination to envision what your new home will look like in the coming spring. But if you can look past the dreariness of the season and all the gray it brings, you may end up finding your dream home.

Which season do you think is best for house-hunting?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Linh says:

    I started looking January and made offers on 4 homes. Three of the homes an offer was accepted or the home went pending before I could even place my offer and at the most I took one day to weight the pros/cons of the home.

  • Donna says:

    We bought our home in the winter and there are down sides. You cannot see how neighbors care for their property or the type of neighbor you have living next door. Our neighbor was a slum landlord and the tenants were not ideal. Language was appalling. Their dogs were left out to bark all day and they never picked up the yard of various waste. It’s a huge investment and personally I would never do it again!

  • Everything has its season, sell boats, cars and holiday homes in the spring gives the most money, to buy the equivalent is best in the autumn and winter. House purchases in the winter can be difficult when you can not see everything that is covered with snow, but you can see many other weaknesses in the house.

  • Joe says:

    I’ve been looking around and the inventory is very low. The area we are looking at is small and I don’t see anything that’s a good fit. I agree that it’s a good time to buy if you find the right home.

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