When most people think about going house shopping, they often think of the more relaxed and better weather months of spring and summer. But, in fact, winter can be a great time to find real estate for sale. Here are three ways to make the most of this opportunity.
Value Having Less Competition
While there is less inventory in most markets during the winter, there's also less competition. While many other buyers are staying out of the market, you often have a chance to find better deals and better home options. You may feel freer to conduct stronger negotiations or ask for cost concessions that you wouldn't otherwise get.
As the year ends, many sellers may even be anxious to complete a sale before December 31. You may want to keep an eye out for houses that have been on the market for a while or are rentals being sold off.
Look at the Silver Lining
Consider this your chance to see how the house, property, and neighborhood looks in the off season. Winter is often the worst case scenario for yard damage, and it's a good time to discover things like insufficient insulation or a bad roof. It's also a time when the community may look very different -- without tourist destinations, in worse weather, and when even the local population may be different.
Take all of this as a chance to be even more sure about your purchase. If you still like the home or the area during this harsher time, you can be confident that you know exactly what you're buying and are likelier to be happy.
If you're looking at a home when it's not at its best, be proactive about changing the conditions. It could be something as simple as turning on all the lights when you walk through so you can see the house (literally) in a better light. Schedule visits during well-lit daytime hours. Ask for photos of the house in different seasons.
Being proactive about your first impressions of the house also means looking beyond any debris or weather wear on the home. Focus on the structure of the house, signs of good maintenance, and potential in the floor plan rather than cosmetic problems.
If you're putting off looking for real estate, these three reasons may help you decide to take the plunge instead. It could be just the move that helps you find that perfect home.