Think it’s all about spring market? Think again!
Often, homebuyers focus on spring market—and we get it. There’s so much inventory in the spring and, paired with the better weather and, often, optimal timing for families—move-in right before school starts—spring tends to be the go-to, especially for first-time buyers.
The reality? Spring is a great time to buy—but so is winter. While, yes, you may be trekking through a little snow (depending on your market…) and there does tend to be less inventory on the market, if you know what you want and, more importantly, where you want to be, winter can be an optimal time to make an offer. Here’s why…
#1. Prices are lower
In some markets, home prices can dip as much as 10% to 15% in the winter versus the spring. Right off the bat, that’s a huge incentive for many families who can now expand their range and, ideally, get their dream home for a fraction of the price. We’ve seen many city families diligently search and make offers in the winter, ultimately getting morehouse or getting into a sought-after community that, otherwise, they may not have been able to afford. For that reason alone many first-time buyers continue—or start—searching now, with their sights set on locking down a house before spring.
#2. There’s less competition
Many would-be buyers who don’t find something by fall tend to freeze their home search until spring. So what does that mean for the intrepid winter buyer? Less competition and a much lower likelihood you’ll find yourself in the midst of a bidding war. One expert said she typically sees 50 to 100 prospective buyers for an open house. In the winter, that number dips to 10 to 12—or even less.
#3. Sellers are ready to negotiate
The benefit? Thanks to, again, the relative lack of bidding wars, sellers tend to be more willing to make a deal—even if they’ve already lowered their price. They see fewer buyers come through and they know they’re getting less consideration—and fewer offers—than they would in the warmer months. If they need to sell, then they’ll be more likely to come down and meet buyer demands than they would in the spring.
That flexibility can increase even more if the seller’s home has been on the market since spring. If, for one reason or another, a home isn’t scooped up in the spring or summer buying seasons, by winter the seller is often extremely motivated—and that can mean incomparable deals on amazing homes in virtually any suburb anywhere.
#4. You may not have to put down as much
With less competition and more open-minded sellers, many buyers wind up not having to put down as much on a property. When bidding wars commence, often it’s the all-cash buyer or buyer with a conventional loan and a hefty down payment who comes out on top. In the winter, that may not be the case. For FHA buyers, for example, or buyers looking to put down less than 20%, winter could be the perfect season to search—without the competition from cash-heavy buyers, you’ll likely be able to snag the house you want on your terms.
#5. Lenders aren’t as busy…
Besides less competition for properties, there’s also, often, less competition for mortgage lenders and their time. Many buyers report expedited approvals, quicker closers and more individualized attention when the temperature drops. And, given this is such a massive purchase, the more one-on-one guidance, the better.
The takeaway? If you’re searching, don’t give up—there could be an amazing deal in your ideal suburb coming your way. And if you’ve put your search on a temporary freeze, it’s time to get back out there—your Strategist can help. Good luck!
Suburban Jungle is an award-winning firm that specializes in moving families from urban to suburban. The company’s innovative “town first” approach helps buyers find the right suburb for their family based on personality and lifestyle, not just the house. Services are FREE and fully customized to each family and their unique journey. To learn more and to connect with a Suburbs Strategist, and find the place your family truly fits in visit www.suburbanjunglerealty.com and click GET STARTED.