Is winter a good time to buy or sell a home? Traditionally, the winter home buying season isn't very busy because most buyers scoop up properties during the spring and summer, leaving only a select few for the colder months. The fewer number of comparable homes for sale, the greater the probability a buyer will look at your home. Simply put, it’s supply and demand. If there are fewer homes to choose from, the demand for your home has just increased. Not only will less competition increase the probability for showings, but it will also increase the probability that an offer will be received and you will get the maximum amount of money for your home.
It also means fewer open houses, which can take hours of preparation and don’t always pay off. If you do have a winter open house, you’ll also probably have more motivated visitors and serious buyers, there are very few window-shoppers during the cold-weather months.
Because everyone thinks they shouldn’t list their property under threat of snow and ice, there are very few homes to buy at the start of a new year. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still potential buyers on the prowl. And if your house is the best in town, you’re likely to have a lot more interest than in spring when the market is saturated.
This also tends to lead to more serious buyers, companies tend to place and/or relocate their workers during the first quarter of the new year. This means that every winter, there is an assured populace that’s looking for a new home, quickly. Overall, there are fewer buyers on the prowl during the winter months, more focused and more motivated, yes, but undeniably fewer.
For buyers, seasonal home prices are typically lowest in January and February, meaning home buyer affordability is at its highest. Increased home affordability means: 1) it costs less to buy now than it will in spring or 2) you can buy more house (more square footage, higher level of finish, better condition and a more desirable location) for the same amount of money.
For buyers and sellers, during the winter months there are fewer real estate transactions than there are in the springtime. The fewer number of transactions means the mortgage lenders have fewer loans to process, title and escrow companies have less closings, and home inspectors have fewer inspections. All of these factors should lead to a quicker transaction and closing for all the parties involved. In the end, the best time to buy is when a seller is motivated to sell, and the best time to sell is when a buyer is motivated to buy.
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