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Are you at the point where it makes more sense to stop renting and buy a home of your own? You might feel like finding your dream house will be easier in the Spring once the ground has thawed, but house hunting during the colder months can have some major benefits. If you can brave the low temperatures of a St. Louis winter to start your property search, you may be able to get a better deal than you would in the warmer months. Here are a few things to keep in mind when house hunting in the winter:
You’ll Have Less Competition
Shopping for a home in the winter is not the ideal situation — bundling up to look at properties and having to move all of your belongings on snowy (or icy) roads can sound very unappealing. Despite the inconvenience, this can actually work out in your favor. If you’re the sole potential buyer, you’ll have a better position to negotiate and will have an easier time closing the deal at a purchase price you’re comfortable with.
The Prices May Be Lower
Because the winter months are the slow season for real estate, sellers will generally price their homes to sell. It comes down to supply and demand — fewer buyers looking means the supply will outweigh the demand —giving buyers the upper hand in negotiations. Also, it may be easier to close a deal with financing; If there are no cash buyers, the seller will find your loan terms more favorable.
Realtors Will Be More Attentive
Realtors are not as busy in the winter as they are in the warmer months, and this means they’ll have additional time to dedicate to you and your search for a home. With a less demanding schedule, real estate agents will be able to do more research and have more time for showings. The sooner an agent can show you a new listing, the more likely you are to get your bid in first.
Sellers Will Be More Motivated
The main reason that anybody chooses to sell their home in the winter, is that they have to. They might have a new job that forces them to relocate, or they may have outgrown the home and need more space. Whatever their reason, they’re going to be motivated to get the house sold as soon as possible. Which will not only be reflected in a competitive price, but usually also means a speedy transaction. There’s nothing better than a motivated seller for a homebuyer.
You Can Perform a More Thorough Inspection
Inspecting a home before you buy it allows you to uncover any underlying issues that may eventually pose a problem. If your inspection is on a warm, sunny day, it will be very difficult to know how the house will hold up in the coldest months. Conducting a winter inspection allows you to check for any drafts from doors and windows, test the integrity of the insulation, and see how the heating system performs.
As much as you might be averse to house hunting in the winter, there are considerable benefits to it. I’d love to hear about your experience if you’ve done it (or do it).
If you’d like to talk more about winter house hunting, or you need a mortgage pre-approval or a recommendation for an experienced, local Realtor, please get in touch. I’m always happy to help.