Not all hopeful homeowners buy when the sun's out and the weather's nice. While the number of homes sold generally increases in spring and then peaks in summer, there are some homebuyers who will want or need to buy in the colder months. That can be a good thing so your income doesn't come to a screeching halt as an agent, but there are definitely some factors to consider. Here's a closer look at the pros and cons of buying or selling homes in the winter so you can best help your clients.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Buying a House in Winter?
When you're helping clients buy homes in the winter months, they may face these pros and cons:
Less competition: Fewer homes sell during the winter months, which means less competition amongst buyers. This makes it easier to see homes and increases the likelihood of having a competitive offer accepted.
Motivated sellers: If a home is listed during the winter months, sellers are likely motivated to sell the home quickly as they don't want to wait until spring or summer.
Lower pricing: The median sale price is lower during the winter months. This can help buyers save a bit on the purchase price.
More time with a realtor: With fewer homes on the market and being sold, realtors have more free time. That can create a better experience for homebuyers as realtors can be more attentive.
Inspections are more difficult: Rain, snow, and ice can make it more difficult for inspectors to get to properties and inspect them, especially in more remote locations. This can cause delays in the purchase and closing process.
Fewer houses on the market: Buyers will have fewer homes to consider during their shopping process, as many sellers wait until spring and summer to list their homes.
Hard to move: Moving after buying can also present some challenges amid bad weather conditions. Packing, unpacking, and driving moving vehicles are all a bit trickier in the rain, snow, or ice.
Hidden landscaping: In most cases, a property's landscaping will be very different in the winter months than in the spring and summer. While pictures can help, it can be harder to know what you're getting into when the yard is dormant or covered in snow.
Less daylight: Winter months also come with shorter days which mean fewer hours of daylight to go to house showings.
In summary: For buyers, buying during the winter months can mean snagging a great deal while getting more help than they'd get in the spring or summer. However, it can also mean fewer homes to choose from, hidden landscaping, and other delays and difficulties due to the weather.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Selling a House in Winter?
Selling a home in the winter also comes with some pros and cons, including:
Less competition: As the housing market calms down in the colder months, fewer people list their homes for sale. Being so, sellers will often have less competition which can mean more visibility.
Motivated buyers: Similar to how sellers don't list homes in winter unless they are motivated to sell, buyers don't shop for homes in the winter just for fun. It takes a bit more work and can be uncomfortable, so typically, they are serious and have a driving motivation.
More attentive realtor: Real estate slows down in the winter months which again enables agents to give more attention to their sellers.
Lower prices: Sellers should be aware that they will likely sell the home for less than they could get when demand is higher in warmer months.
Fewer offers: With fewer buyers out shopping, sellers can expect to receive fewer offers and may see the property sit on the market longer than it would in other seasons.
Lower curb appeal: In many cases, a home doesn't look its best during the winter. Unfortunately, that can deter buyers or cause lower offers.
Showings can be hard: If a seller is living in the home, it can be inconvenient to leave for showings when it's cold and raining or snowing. The weather may also prevent or delay clients from coming to view the home.
In summary: Selling in the winter isn't ideal for sellers, as they'll typically get less for their homes. However, it can mean more help from their real estate agents and more visibility for their listings.
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