house hunting in winter

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Shopping for your dream home is one of the most exciting—and stressful—hallmarks of adulthood. Though it may appear effortless and glamorous on shows like Property Brothers or Fixer Upper, there is quite a bit of work that goes into finding and purchasing your dream home.

However, there are some tips and tricks to make the process easier. Going house hunting during the off-season is one of them.

The housing market is cool during the winter.

Like the weather, the housing market is hot in the summertime and cool during winter. However, this phenomenon occurs in warmer climates as well. The holiday season is part of the reason why. During that stretch from October through December, many families focus their time, money, and energy on preparing for and celebrating the fall and winter holidays—not on buying (or selling) a home.

Then, after a decadent—and usually costly—holiday season, many find themselves “recovering” throughout January and February: paying off bills, getting back to normal, and fending off the post-holiday blues.

As time passes and winter thaws into spring throughout March and April, housing activity picks up again.

That makes now a great time to start your home search. Here are four benefits of house hunting during the off-season.

Buyer Competition is Lower

Because fewer buyers are in the market during the winter, you will have less competition. The same home that might yield a bidding war in the summer will likely have much less interest during the winter.

With fewer buyers to compete with, you may also find yourself with more options from which to choose. Houses aren’t flying off the market the way they do during the on-season, so you’ll have time to shop, compare, and save.

Sellers May Be More Motivated

When supply exceeds demand, a buyer’s market results. This gives potential homebuyer’s the upper hand in negotiations. As such, sellers may be more willing to negotiate.

Bear in mind that most sellers would not choose to sell in a buyer’s market unless they absolutely had to—not in every case, of course, but in many. Some possible reasons for listing in the winter include:

  • The seller accepted a job in another state and must move;
  • The seller is motivated by financial or other important personal issues;
  • The seller could have listed the home during the spring or summer, but the house failed to move and now continues to languish on the market during the off-season.

Whatever the case, you may find yourself negotiating with a more motivated seller during the winter months, which means a better deal for you.

You May Pay Less

Because of the previously mentioned factors, you may end up paying less for your new home. For obvious reasons, this is good news both in the long and short term.

Not only might you pay less overtime, but you may also come in under budget on the sale. This will leave you more money for potential renovations as well as home furnishings.

Your Realtor Will Focus on You

Finally, with fewer buyers with whom to compete and a market with more motivated sellers, your realtor will work harder for you—which you will certainly appreciate.

So, don’t be afraid to get out there during the winter months. Though there may be fewer homes on the market, you are more likely to stumble upon an amazing deal.

Happy House Hunting!