family playing in snow in front of home

Buying A House During The Winter Season

Miranda Crace4-minute read
June 30, 2021

Home buying tends to hit its peak in the spring and summer months. Warm weather is more inviting for open houses, home inspections and moving. However, you can reap some significant benefits by choosing to buy a house in the winter months.

Top Tips For Winter House Buying

Although the weather’s colder and some people choose to stay warmed up inside, it’s actually better to explore and consider winter real estate. In fact, there are many reasons as to why buying a home in winter can be smart. Let's explore the ways in which buying in the winter can get you the best bang for your buck.

Less Competition And Lower Prices

Less competition benefits both home sellers and home buyers. With fewer buyers to compete with, you’re less likely to enter a bidding war and more likely to have your offer accepted.

With more people staying inside when it’s cold and thinking about buying a home in the summer months, you’ll have an advantage over them. Not too many people like to go house hunting when they’re shivering, so you’ll have the upper hand and beat out the competition – if there even is any.

Just by choosing to buy in the winter, you might get the cheaper deal. Since there aren't many buyers during the winter season, home prices tend to be lower, giving you more room to negotiate with the seller. You might even get a significantly lower price when buying a house during winter if you do an all-cash offer.

Motivated Sellers And Faster Closing Times

Companies tend to relocate employees in the first quarter. This surge leads to motivated buyers and sellers, allowing you to close more quickly. This is a great time to negotiate things like closing costs and what household appliances will be included in the sale.

Whatever the reason may be for the seller to move, odds are they want to get out quickly because it’s better for them to buy in the winter as well. This means you have the upper hand. As mentioned before, you now have room to negotiate, and quite often you’ll get the best deal.

When it’s time to close on the house, you’ll likely see a speedier process as compared to a closing in the summer months. Mortgage brokers tend to be less busy in the winter, so your wait time will be much shorter – and you’ll be able to move into your new home as quickly as possible.

Enthusiastic Real Estate Agents And Flexible Movers

Real estate agents are busy people, especially when it starts to get warmer. If you decide to buy in the winter, chances are your real estate agent can assist you quicker and get you the best deal. Due to the average real estate agent not making as many sales during the winter, yours will probably want the sale to go through just as much as you do. That being said, don’t just buy any house your real estate agent is showing you so they can make a sale. You should be sure they’re taking you around to the best homes that fit your needs. As many agents are more flexible during the winter season, they’ll have the time to accommodate you in this way.

When all is said and done and it’s time to move into the new home you’ve purchased, instead of doing all the moving yourself to save a few bucks, you should hire professional movers. Naturally, the winter months aren’t as busy for movers, either – so they may very well have extra time in their schedule, and you might even get their service at a discounted rate.

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Things To Consider When House Buying In The Winter

Though there are many perks when it comes to buying a house during the winter season, you’ll still want to keep a few things in mind when deciding if this the right season to buy for you.

Keep Your Receipts Handy

You should always ask for maintenance receipts and know where you stored them. Cold weather can make it difficult or even impossible to complete certain outside inspections. Some inspections may be delayed due to weather reasons, which might make it harder for the closing of the house to be completed.

For example, if the ground is frozen, a septic tank inspection can’t be completed. Always make sure you’re going to a trustworthy maintenance company for any work that needs to be done, including inspections. It’s also important that you ask for proof of any work completed.

Delayed House Closing

Inclement weather can delay inspections and appraisals, which may elongate the closing process. However, with the undivided attention of your real estate agent, you may get lucky and close quickly.

This is why it’s important to work with a real estate professional when it comes to the home buying process. As previously mentioned, the real estate agent should have more of a flexible schedule during the winter, so everything should move fairly quickly (weather permitting).

Don’t Make An Offer Too Low

The assumption that sellers in cold months are desperate is often incorrect, and lowballing your offer may offend the seller to the point of being closed to a counter-offer.

Even though you might get a better deal during the winter season due to lower competition, that doesn’t mean you should diminish the seller and their offer. Be realistic and reasonable when making your offer, but also try to get the best deal possible without stepping on any toes.

Keep Track Of Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates change over time, but not necessarily seasonally. An analysis of almost 20 years of FHA rate data shows that, in most years, the mortgage rate changed by less than 1%. The month with the lowest average mortgage rate is April.

It’s important to do your research regarding mortgage rates and the best time to buy. Keep in mind that mortgage rates typically don’t change seasonally, but it’s always good to be aware of what’s changing and happening.

The Bottom Line: The Off Season May Be The Best Season

If you’re unsure about buying during the winter months, just keep in mind the pros and cons. There’s also a host of things to consider when selling your home in the winter months.

Finding a trustworthy and reliable real estate agent can lead you in the right direction on when the best time to buy is. It’s also important to note that buying during the winter season can mean many different things depending on where you’re located. Overall, though, under no circumstance should you be swayed by the misconceptions about the real estate “off season.”

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    Miranda Crace

    The Rocket Homes blog is here to bring you all you need to know about buying, selling and making the most of your home. Whether you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner, selling your current home or looking to keep your place in tip-top shape, our writers and freelancers bring their experience and expertise to meet you right where you are.