Should I Buy a Home This Winter or Wait for Spring?

Should I Buy a Home This Winter or Wait for Spring?

If you are a Twin Cities’ buyer that missed out on snaring a deal this past spring or summer, you might be asking yourself, your family, your friends and your realtor whether or not you should keep your search ongoing or simply hunker down for the winter months and venture forth again when the forsythia bloom.  Maybe you just started the process and are thinking of putting it on hold until the new year arrives or wondering if there is an advantage to staying the course.  As a realtor, I can tell you that I am being asked that question from many of my clients, especially the first time buyers.Because everyone has a story and no personal situation is exactly the same, there is no right or wrong answer. But generally speaking, I tell my buyers that nobody is too cool for thermal underwear in Minnesota. Let’s get some and keep looking for that home. Patience is a virtue and tenacity pays off in the end. To those just getting started in the process, if you have your pre-approval letter in hand start your search and if not get that preliminary work completed and then press go! Now before you get out your list of 7 reasons why you shouldn’t go out in the cold, here are my 7 reasons why house hunting this winter is an excellent idea.

Winter Sellers Are Serious Sellers 

Generally speaking, homeowners that choose to put their house up for sale in the winter months have a compelling reason to do so. It may be they are facing a job-related move, a divorce, financial challenges, or an estate settlement. Perhaps they have had their home up for sale for a few months at too high a price and now are feeling the pressure to lower their ask price considerably or consider listening to offers that are not full price.

The Winter Twin Cities Housing Market is Less Competitive

First, in the spirit of honesty, I am going to tell you there are fewer houses for sale in the winter. But, there are also fewer buyers. You know who I am talking about. Those buyers without the tenacity to get out in the cold and look at houses. Those buyers who have Realtors that are not up to the challenge and told them to wait it out until spring. Yeah, I’m talking about those buyers. Maybe I am throwing just a little shade right now, but seriously, for the intrepid buyer that in the face of snow or rain or single digit temps persist, they are not going to trip over other buyers at open houses and far less likely to get involved in a bidding war for a home. Booyah!

Fewer Buyers, Less Demand, Lower Prices

Generally speaking, with fewer buyers in the market home prices either level off or decline. That will mean more house for your money than you will find next spring or even what you saw this past buying season.

Winter Buyers Have a Bigger Bargaining Chip

As we mentioned above, with fewer buyers there is much less likelihood of multiple offer situations. So even though this is still a market that favors the seller, not so much so in the winter months. Less competition means serious sellers are going to be motivated to negotiate because they might not be certain when another offer will come their way.  

You Will Get More Attention

Because it is the slow season for the housing market, Realtors are not as busy and have more time to devote to the clients they have. This is always a plus for a first time home buyer especially.

The Whole Buying Process Will Move Faster

There will also be fewer closings on the calendar, fewer buyers looking for mortgages, or home inspections so this can get you from accepted offer to closing in a shorter time with less hassle. You the winter home buyer will be treated like a member of the royal family!

Benefits of Moving in Winter

Finding a mover and getting the date and time on the calendar will be easier because not only are fewer people buying homes and moving into them but generally, in the winter months renters tend to stay in their apartments as well. Move and unpack in the winter and be ready to enjoy life in your new home when summer rolls around.  We get little enough warm weather as it is so why to spend a large part of it schlepping boxes and sofas around in the heat when you could be already in a new home and hitting the beach, the golf course, or the bike path when spring rolls around.

One final word for those ready to move quickly. The Federal Reserve meets December 12 and 13th and the expectation is that they will raise the interest rate at that time. Right now buyers with a good credit score can get a rate below 4%, and as a matter of fact, the rate just fell in November. But even a small rise translates into considerable money over the life of your loan and for some who are just qualifying it can mean the difference between buying now and having to wait to save a larger down payment. 

So there are my reasons to consider buying a house in the winter.  So put aside your plans to hunker down in front of the TV with the cat, binge-watching Breaking Bad for the third time and let's go buy a home!

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