Why winter is the best time to buy a home

Most people will agree that summer is prime home-selling and buying season. The weather is warm and the days are long, so people are more willing to get out and look at houses. Kids are no longer in school, making the summer months the best time of year to relocate.

However, there are disadvantages to buying in the summer. In many ways, buying a home after the weather starts to cool down is a savvy move.

Finding weaknesses
When looking at homes in the summer, it’s easy to fall in love with one because it has a big closet, an extra bathroom or a big backyard. However, the summer hardly provides viewers a good idea of how helpful a home will be in the fall and winter months. Michael Corbett, real estate expert at Trulia, told Forbes that winter is the best time to see how well a home actually stands up to harsh conditions.

In the winter, viewing the home will also mean experiencing how well the heating system works, how drafty the windows and doors are and whether the home is prone to leaks.  This is also the perfect time to observe how well the city and neighborhood take care of the area. If the sidewalks are icy and the streets are unplowed when you view the house, chances are they’ll be in a similar state when you move in.

A fireplace might look promising in the summer, but shopping in the winter will give you a better idea of how well the fireplace works.A fireplace might look promising in the summer, but shopping in the winter will give you a better idea of how well the fireplace works.

Better bargains
Since the widely accepted selling season is the summer, winter will likely see less available inventory. The homes that are for sale are likely listed by determined owners just looking to make a sale. Limited inventory means buyers are likely to find the best bargains.

In fact, according to The Atlantic, even when summer and winter blur together with similar weather, such as in southern California, the pattern of cheaper houses in the winter holds up. In a research paper, published by the American Economic Association, London School Economics professors L. Rachel Ngai and Silvana Tenreyro explain what they believe to be the reason behind the phenomenon.

Weather and the school year play a small part in the trend, according to Ngai and Tenreyro. The fact that most people believe summer is the best time to sell or buy a home; they will likely follow this trend. More houses will be for sale during the summer months, and more people will be looking. Both of these push home prices up.

Once the peak selling season starts to fade however, there will be fewer homes on the market and fewer people hoping to buy, and ultimately the price goes back down.

“Everyone involved is dedicated to the homebuying process during the winter.”

Center of attention
Since there are fewer people shopping for a home during winter months, prospective buyers will be able to get more time to talk with home sellers, real estate agents and mortgage advisors and brokers. Everyone involved is more dedicated to the process at this time of year.

According to Corbett, many real estate agents buckle down and get a lot of work done in the winter, because they know each of their buyers is as determined to find a home as they are. Summer months can bring potential buyers who might not be as serious about buying a home, which takes up real estate agents’ and sellers’ time and may detract from those who are seriously looking for a new home.

It’s true that it might be harder to find a home in the winter. The homes available during what many consider the offseason may be limited and may not fit exactly what individual homebuyers want. However, if they are willing to forego some of the smaller things, chances are buyers will find a better deal in a home that proves itself to be winter-ready.