The Pros & Cons of Winter Home Buying
And while the real estate market typically does slow down during the chilly season, there’s no reason to delay making a home purchase during winter.
If you’re in the market for a brand new abode, but are unsure about purchasing a home in the wintertime, rest assured – there are actually many advantages to buying a home in the wintertime. Don’t know where to start? We’ve done the research for you: take a look at these pros and cons of winter home buying to better inform yourself.
There’s less competition…
The most obvious advantage of making a home purchase during the chilly season is that there’s simply less competition.
When the mercury drops and the snow starts to fall, the real estate market typically slows down for the wintry weather – this means less competition from other potential home-buyers, giving you an advantage in a buyer’s market.
Less competition means more chances for you to find and purchase your dream home, and less chance that you’ll get stuck in a bidding war.
…but house hunting can be uncomfortable
With all of that said, the very reason why home purchases dwindle in the wintertime is one of the biggest disadvantages to winter home-buying: it’s just too cold!
The house hunting process is already time consuming, and can sometimes be frustrating. Although Canadians are well-versed in surviving winter weather, snow, slush, and extreme cold temperatures make the house hunting and subsequent home buying process that much more uncomfortable – especially for new Canadians that aren’t familiar or equipped for Canadian winters.
Real estate professionals will be more available…
If you’ve found that you haven’t gotten as much attention as you’d liked from agents and other real estate professionals, then buying a home in the winter might be your key to success.
Precisely because the market slows down in wintertime, making a home purchase during the chilly off-season means industry professionals have greater availability. Less clients means more time for a real estate agent to focus on helping you find your dream home.
What’s more, availability and costs for lenders and movers typically dips during this time as well. It’s a win-win for a wintertime home-buyer!
…but home inspections may be trickier
Homeowners know that inspections are important: a home is the biggest purchase most Canadians will likely make, and it’s important that every corner – from attic to basement – be properly inspected.
In the chilly season, inspections are made trickier by winter weather. Snow and ice can obscure a homebuyer’s view of roofs and grading, or can hide any potentially-dangerous cracks in foundation.
What’s more, since mold spores are dormant in wintertime, obscuring the usual telltale mildew smell in a moldy basement.
That’s why you should be extra vigilant and thorough when inspecting a home in the winter, in order to catch any hidden issues that might crop up with the spring thaw.
Asking prices may be better…
Another advantage of buying a home in the winter is the potential for better asking prices. Despite their best efforts to stage their home properly, it’s difficult for winter home-sellers to display their home in the best possible light.
All the maintenance and tidying that may usually be done to dress up a home for showing – clearing out clutter indoors and maintaining outdoor property – may be put aside. Coupled with a tepid market, in which a home may be sitting on the market for some time, this may translate into a lower asking price for potential buyers.
…but there may be less to choose from
Along with the advantage of less competition, comes the disadvantage of there being fewer houses on the market to choose from.
If you and your family have a long list of necessities in a potential home, then making a home purchase in the winter months might not be ideal. Since there are less houses on the market in winter, you might need to compromise on needs and wants.
While there are pros and cons to every home-buying season, it’s important to be informed, no matter the time of year. Whether you’re buying a home in the chilly winter months, or waiting until the spring thaw to take the home purchasing plunge, take the time to do your research and consider your and your families’ unique needs.