The holidays are finally here – every street is lit with bright lights and light posts are covered with cheery decorations.
The white snow has fallen perfectly onto the roof and the grey smoke burning from the fireplace is rising out of the chimney.
If you have the itch to buy a home just like the one you see in a snow globe, you may be in luck.
Experts have shared their opinions on why homebuying in the winter is a smart choice.
Here’s your cue to put on your snow boots, winter coat and scarf and get started.
This is what you should know about homebuying in the winter:
When winter comes to town, people are more drawn to the idea of staying in to escape the cold.
Because people rather spend their time indoors, generally, there are fewer buyers in the market.
Sellers may experience a drop in offers they receive due to the lack of potential homebuyers.
Which explains why when a seller does receive an offer, they are more likely to accept.
During this time, they are more motivated and willing to accept most offers so they can sell and move as quickly as possible.
Which is why buying in the winter may be a good idea if you are looking to buy immediately.
With little competition and a higher success rate of landing a good deal, this is a perfect scenario for future homebuyers.
Test your limits
With fewer competitors and a smaller pool of home available on the market, sellers are generally more willing to accommodate and accept offers.
As a winter homebuyer, test your limits by offering below the asking price. If the home has been on the market for a longer period of time, the seller may be eager to accept your offer with little negotiating.
Have your real estate agent do some extra homework to find out how motivated they are to sell.
For example, find answers to questions like the following:
Why are they selling?
What is their timeframe?
What is the lowest asking price they will accept?
If you have this advantage, you can strategically plan how you can make an offer too good for the seller to turn down.
With the winter months being a busy holiday season, finding time that works for everyone can be difficult.
Whether you are buying in the summer or winter, there are many things that need to be taken care of, such as home inspections, an appraisal evaluation, completing a loan application and much more.
Many parties are involved in the homebuying process, so you will need to be flexible and willing to make new plans if necessary in order to close on a home.
Although it may take more time, being patient and flexible will pay off in the long run.
After all, do you really want to rush the biggest investment of your life?
It’s OK to take your time and go through this process at your own pace.
Buying a home is a marathon, not a sprint.
Ask for photos
If the home has been on the market for several months, chances are, the seller will have photos of the home in a different season.
Asking for photos of the home in a different seasonal environment will show you how the home looks opposed to the current condition.
If the home is covered in layers of snow, outdoor features like the driveway or front yard will not accurately show how the home would normally look.
Although it may be difficult to imagine the home during the summertime, take advantage of this moment.
This is a good opportunity to see how the entire home looks in the winter.
Be sure to take into account of the snow covering the driveway, deck, roof and maybe pool.
How accessible are these amenities?
Does the driveway require hours of shoveling?
Would you need to recruit extra help to clear the driveway?
These are important questions to answer and gives you a better idea of what can expect and tests how willing you are to maintain the exterior of the home.
Ask for proof
Not everything is visible to the naked eye, such as atoms, radio waves or even dark matter.
As for homebuying visibility, we can’t completely see if the home was neglected.
Sure, some things may signal red flags, but there are underlying factors that aren’t always easy to spot out, such as the wellbeing of the roof, the furnace’s condition or if the heating system is up to date.
This is where you need to ask for proof of quality care.
Typically, homeowners should have some type of maintenance work done on their home such as repairing any damages, modern updates or routine checkups.
To ensure your future home was taken care of properly, ask the sellers for documentation of work being done.
This will give you a clearer image of how the home was treated and if any potential damages may occur.
Regardless of when you are on the prowl to buy a home, it’s always recommended to take notes of the home.
Whatever season you are in, make sure you jot down some notes of things you like, any concerns or possible renovation ideas.
However, buying in the winter gives you a better idea of how the home functions in colder weather.
For example, the need and usage of electricity and heated water will increase in the winter.
Take notes of the expense regarding the energy and utility bills so you can remind yourself how you can appropriately budget throughout the year.
This is also a good opportunity to see how the home handles harsh weather.
You will be able to see firsthand the home’s ability to protect its residents, the exterior’s durability to rain or snow and any other potential threats like black ice or dangerous icicles.
Obviously, you need to pay just as much attention indoors.
If you don’t know what to exactly look for, check out this article on the top things you need to look for when buying a home.
Don’t stop searching
If you are not satisfied with the home you are touring, do not settle for less.
Why invest your time and money into a home where you are not happy?
Instead, continue to search until you have found the right one.
This is a common issue homebuyers experience during the winter months since there are fewer homes on the market.
Because of the quantity of homes available, you may not find the perfect home right away.
If this is your case, continue to keep your eyes peeled for new homes and wait until you have found one you absolutely love.
Be sure to stick with your guy and don’t stop searching until you have found the one.
Budget more time for closing
As mentioned before, the holiday season is a jam-packed time for most people.
Which can make scheduling appointments that fits everyone’s schedules a bit tricky.
Not to mention, the snow and weather could potentially cancel appointments, which could push back the closing day.
The closing process has several phases that need to be completed before you can move in.
And trying to plan around several hectic schedules and unpredictable weather is challenging.
To keep your stress levels down, budget more time for closing so you can easily change and adapt to new plans if necessary.
Wondering what else you should know about closing day?
Many people look at the winter season as real estate’s “off-season”, but some people take advantage of this time to lock in on a home.
If you are comfortable knowing that your mortgage process may take a little more time, it could make the perfect holiday gift.
What better way to spend the holidays and begin the new year in a brand-new home?
New home, fresh start.