Most people would rather be sitting in front of the fireplace than going housing hunting during the winter. Winter may be the coolest time of year, but it can be a great time to purchase real estate. Buying during winter offers many benefits: there are fewer buyers, sellers are more willing to negotiate and the banks are more generous with incentives.
Are you tired of always coming up short in multiple offer situations? In red-hot real estates markets like Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver where bidding wars are commonplace, winter can be the perfect time to swoop in and buy your dream home. Fewer buyers mean less competition. Instead of dealing with six offers, you might only have to deal with one or two. This only betters your chances of buying a home. You’ll also feel more comfortable leaving in the all-important condition of home inspection.
There’s no better time to negotiate with a seller than when they’re desperate to sell. Winter isn’t the ideal time to list a home; most sellers would probably much rather list their home during the spring market. The seller could be listing their home for any number of reasons, including death, marriage breakdown, job loss and illness. You should find out why the seller is listing their home and use it to your advantage in the negotiations.
Fewer Homes to View
While fewer homes to view may sound like a disadvantage, it can actually be a good thing. Here’s why: it’s easy to get overwhelmed as a buyer during the busy spring market. With fewer houses to choose from, you can focus on the ones that truly meet your needs.
Many homebuyers like to look for the home that meets everything on their wish list. Although the perfect home might come up eventually, it can take months or years of searching. You can find yourself priced out of the market in the meantime. With fewer homes to choose from, you’re more likely to take your home search more seriously and bend on your wants.
The big banks know winter isn’t a popular time to buy or sell real estate. That’s why many banks may be willing to offer you a better deal on mortgages during the winter. With today’s ultra-low rates, mortgage rates have nowhere to go up but up. With the first rate hike predicted in mid-2015, it’s better to take advantage of bank incentives while they’re still here to enjoy.
Moving in the Spring
Many buyers don’ realize that by buying during the winter, they most likely won’t have to move until the spring. For example, if you buy in February and you have a 90-day closing, you won’t have to move until May, when the cold weather will be a distant memory.
You might be able to swing a deal on movers, as you’ll be moving during a less busy time of year. If you recently sold your house, sellers might be more receptive to a quick close, so your homes close on the same date.