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Are you ready to take the plunge and purchase a home of your own? While your gut may tell you that you may have better luck finding your dream property once the ground has thawed, house hunting during the winter months can have some benefits. If you’re able to brave the chill and wind of a Chicago winter to property search, you may be able to get a better deal than you would in the spring and summer months. Here are some things to consider.
Home shopping in the winter months is not an ideal scenario for most, as having to brave the cold to look at properties and having to move all of your belongings on icy roads is typically a turn off for most buyers. However, this can actually work in your favor. If you’re the only potential buyer, you have more room to negotiate and will most likely be able to close the deal with a purchase price you’re comfortable with.
Because the winter months are not the peak season for real estate, sellers will usually price their homes to sell. It all boils down to the supply and demand theory – fewer buyers means the supply outweighs the demand, hence giving buyers the upper hand in negotiations. In addition, it may be easier to close the deal with financing: if there are no cash buyers, the seller will be more likely to accept your loan terms.
Due to winter being the “slow season,” real estate agents are not as busy as they would be in spring or summer, and they’ll have plenty of time to dedicate to you and your home buying needs. With a lighter work schedule, they’ll be able to do more research and have more time for showings, and the sooner an agent can show you a brand new listing, the more likely you are to get your bid in first.
Winter sellers are usually doing so because they have to. It may be that they have taken a new job, transferred to a new state, or they may have a new addition to their family and need more space. Whatever the reason, they’re going to be motivated to get the house sold, which will not only be reflected in competitive pricing but also in a speedy transaction. A motivated seller is a home buyer's dream.
A home inspection can expose unforeseen issues when purchasing a property. However, if you’re inspecting the property on a sunny, warm day, you’re less likely to be able to determine how the house will hold up in the cold of winter. Touring a home in the winter months will allow you to check the insulation, feel for any drafts from the windows and doors, as well as to test out the heating system. Looking at a long front walk in the spring may seem lovely, but how are you going to feel about that long walk when you have to shovel the snow off of it? Having a carport instead of a garage may be fine for the summer months, but how are you going to feel about warming the car up in the winter months? Little things like this are more apparent when house hunting in winter, leaving you with less regrets.
House hunting in the winter months can seem unlikely due to the cold, but there are significant benefits to it as well. It may be worth it! Happy house hunting.