Why Winter is the Best Time to Buy a Home
You must have heard it before: winter is the best time to buy a house. Historically, you’ll be able to get the best pricing during the winter months, making it the perfect time to go house hunting or close a deal.But real estate experts Cami Jones & Company from Overland Park, Kansas has more valid reasons to offer. In this blog, find out why winter is the best time of the year to buy a new home.
1. The Market is Slower
House sales tend to slow down in the winter, so it’s a good time to look for a home. You won’t be competing with as many buyers as there are during the rest of the year. If you’re sure about making a purchase in winter, consider hiring an agent who specializes in year-round transactions to help you search for potential properties.
- Expert Tip: Consider looking for properties that need repair or renovation. You can make a lower offer on the property and do the repairs yourself or hire contractors.
2. It’s Cheaper to Heat Your House
If you’re planning to buy a home with an oil-based heater, you can save money this winter because heaters are cheaper to acquire in winter than in other seasons. Conversely, central air conditioning is more expensive during the winter months when heating costs are lower.
- Expert Tip: Instead of installing a new heating system, you can improve the performance of the current heater. For example, if the home for sale has radiators without grates, you can get covers to help direct the heat back to your rooms.
3. Moving Costs Less Money
Since demand for moving is less in the winter months, most moving companies charge less. It’s cheaper to transport your belongings in winter when you move into your new house. Moving costs may be 20% to 30% lower during winter compared to the peak seasons.
- Expert Tip: Ask your moving company if you can save additional money by combining two or more moves. For example, if you’re planning to buy a new home in the same town as the one you currently rent, ask if they’ll give you a discounted rate for both moves at once.
4. It’s Easy to Get Mortgage Approval
If you’re planning to buy a home this winter, now is the best time to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Lenders are always looking for clients during the slow winter months before interest rates rise in early spring.By getting approved now, you’ll have a better chance of finding your dream home before other buyers do.
- Expert Tip: To get the best mortgage rate, make sure you check with several lenders and compare rates before you commit. Also, shop around online for other types of loans such as auto loans and personal lines of credit because interest rates tend to be lower this time of year.
5. You Can Do Year-Round Repairs
Contractors who do septic, roofing, and other types of work are usually booked solid in summer. Winter may be a good time to book home repairs for your newly bought house because contractors are not too busy. Plus, the freezing ground makes it easier to dig up septic tanks and find underground lines.
- Expert Tip: Get quotes from several contractors for each type of work you plan to do. This way, you can decide which ones to hire after comparing the prices and services they offer. Some may offer more than one service that you need.
6. HUD Homes Are Available
If you’re considering buying a foreclosed property, winter is a good time to search. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) often lists foreclosed homes for sale during the winter months when fewer people are looking to buy.
- Expert Tip: Make sure you get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start searching for HUD homes because they tend to carry stricter financing guidelines than regular listings. Also, ask your real estate agent if they know lenders who specialize in foreclosure properties.
7. You Can Bargain for a Bigger Home
If you’re looking to upgrade from a starter home, this is the best time of year to do it because there’s less competition from other buyers for larger homes. Cold winter months keep most people at home and out of the real estate market so fewer homes are on the market.
- Expert Tip: If you want to get the best deal possible on a bigger home, work with an agent who specializes in larger homes or knows someone who does.
8. Your Commute Will Be Easier
It takes less time and money to commute during the winter months because there are fewer cars on the road resulting in shorter driving times. It’s also cheaper to fill up your tank with gas this time of year because prices tend to drop as demand for fuel falls between December and March.
- Expert Tip: If you’re planning to buy a home that’s not close to where you work and you don’t want to drive to and from your workplace, ask your real estate agent to recommend the best public transportation options in the area.
9. You’ll Get a Better Deal on Utilities
Utilities such as gas and electricity are often cheaper to use during the winter season, so your heating bill will be lower than during a warmer climate. And because most people stay indoors during cold weather, there’s less demand for electricity in general. This means you can get lower rates all year round.
- Expert Tip: Ask your real estate agent for recommendations on how to save on heating costs for your newly purchased home, or compare rates from different providers online to find out which one is cheaper.
10. You’ll Get a Better Deal on Appliances
Winter is also the perfect time to purchase unfurnished homes because appliances are typically cheaper at this time. Demand for products like furnaces, heaters, fireplaces, and other home essentials decreases.Retailers also offer deals on these items when they need to clear out inventory before warmer weather arrives in spring.
- Expert Tip: Make a list of appliances you want to replace and do some research to find out how much you should save. Compare the prices of different models and ask for help from your real estate agent or homeowner’s insurance provider if you have questions about warranties.
5 Things to Consider When Purchasing a Home During Winter
Here are five things to remember when buying a home during winter.
- You Cannot Close on Your Home If Your Lender Requires an Inspection
If your lender requires you to have an inspection before approving a mortgage for your new home, make sure it doesn’t conflict with your closing date, which should be scheduled after the coldest days of winter.Your lender will have to reschedule the inspection if the day is too cold or snowy. It’s best to avoid closing during winter because you can’t be sure when your lender will give you the money.
- You Might Need to Pay Extra to Get Things Done Quickly
If there are urgent repairs that need to be done to your new home, don’t expect the seller to do them for free if you offer to close earlier or pay extra fees. The majority of home repairs are usually done in summer when more contractors are looking for work.
- You Might Need to Pay Extra for Your Mortgage Insurance
If you need mortgage insurance, make sure to ask your lender about the dates when rates change because they can be much higher during December and January than in other months of the year. And, if you plan to close earlier in winter, remember that most lenders will require you to pay your first six months of insurance in advance.
- You Might Need to Pay Extra for Your Title Insurance
You must ask your real estate agent about the dates when rates change for title insurance and about any other closing costs you might need to pay before winter so you know what they will be and whether or not it’s worth it to close earlier or pay extra for these services. You can also ask about discounts that might be available this time of year.
- Your Home Inspection Might Take Longer Than Usual
If you’re planning to buy a home in winter, don’t expect your home inspection appointment to take the normal amount of time. Inspectors need more time to cover all the areas of your home, so they don’t have to go back during warmer weather.
Consider Buying a Home During Winter
Winter is a great time to buy a home. There are many benefits of buying during this season, including lower heating bills and less traffic for you to contend with when looking at homes because most people have already closed on their new house by the winter months.If you’re thinking about purchasing your first home or an investment property soon, it’s best not to put off making that decision any longer!Cami Jones & Company is a real estate company that offers a boutique realty experience. If you are looking for a new home this winter, get in touch with us today. Our team will be happy to walk you through the process of finding a new home.