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Majority of home shopping and home buying take place in spring and summer, however, there are some benefits to buying a house during the winter months. Here are five reasons to buy a home in winter.
1. Motivated sellers
Anyone who is willing to pack up and move in the dead of winter must really need (or want) to get out. This could help you leverage your negotiations on selling price and closing costs, and could potentially up the odds of the seller leaving some personal items behind in the sale!
2. You get to see how the home operates during the toughest weather of the year
Buy a house in the middle of summer and you may be surprised by the cold drafts you feel in winter. Knowing how your house will hold the heat in the colder months can help you determine what type of improvements may be needed well in advance of owning the home.
3. Fewer buyers competing for your potential purchase
Although there are fewer listings to choose from, fewer buyers competing over a home can give you an advantage. The majority of home searches happen in spring and summer so most sellers have lots of folks strolling through their front door. In the winter you are one of the select few who may be interested in seeing someone’s listing. This makes you stand out and makes your potential offer a priority.
4. Quicker closing times
Due to the low number of people buying homes at this time, regular loan activity for lenders and realtors alike are at some of the lowest levels of the year. This means your loan and or contract is getting reviewed quicker through both processing and underwriting. Your realtor has more time to work on your purchase and handle negotiations and offers. Use this as part of your negotiating to ensure the seller that your financing is in order and your lender is ready to get you a quick closing.
5. Rates may not be as low next year
The market has been riding a relatively calm path over the past five years since 2013. The annual average rate as posted by Freddie Mac has ranged from a low of 3.65% (2016) to a high of 4.17% (2014).* With the prime interest rate going through three rate increases this year and the economy showing steady growth, it is inevitable that long term interest rates will eventually increase. While we cannot attempt to predict when that will occur, it is prudent to take stock in this historic rate “trough” and take advantage of the buying power that comes through a low interest rate.
*As published in the 30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Graph at www.freddiemac.com.
VP, Residential Lending