5 Reasons Buying a Home in Winter Is Better Than Summer
Military home buyers know it doesn’t matter which season of the year it is; when PCS orders come through, it's time to go, even in the winter. A wintertime move isn’t a bad option for many military families. In fact, it could be a relief to avoid the summertime unavailability of movers and the stiff competition to find a house.
If you haven't moved during the off-season, you probably have questions about buying a home in the winter. It’s a different experience than buying during the summer, especially now that the pandemic has changed the course of “typical’’ real estate cycles. So stay tuned—if you’re hoping to buy a home this winter and need a few more reasons to feel comfortable with the idea, we have the information you need.
1)Real Estate Professionals Have More Time
If tradition holds true in your area, real estate professionals from all points of the buying and moving process are less busy during the winter months. This means more attention and flexibility in planning your move.
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Real Estate Agents
If you’ve ever felt the frustration of a non-communicative real estate agent, especially during a traditional PCS move over the summer, you’ll understand the value of an agent with more time on their hands. During the winter months, they’re just as eager to plan closing day details as you. Agents will have more time for all of the home buying activities, from showings to research and producing creative strategies for finding the perfect home.
Financial and Legal Representation
Your real estate agent doesn’t work alone; they count on a team of pros like mortgage brokers, attorneys, appraisers, and office staff who ensure a smooth transaction. When the real estate market slows in the winter, this team also has more time to prioritize your purchase.
Your home inspector will also have more time to check the house and focus on potentially expensive updates and repairs like a faulty gutter system, an old furnace, or drafty windows.
Professional movers are known to work on strict schedules over the summer months, often at premium prices. If you decide to DIY move in January or February, chances are their schedules have more availability and there might be room for negotiating fees. It’s common for movers to charge less over the winter and on weekdays.
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2)Lower Asking Prices and Less Competition
In years past, the winter months were slow in real estate. Buyers didn’t want to brave the weather or uproot families during the middle of the school year. But as we all know, things have changed significantly over the last three years.
So, depending on your local real estate trends, you’ll find a continuum of what “lower asking prices and less competition” means. Certainly, there are still fewer home shoppers over the winter than in summer, so the expectation of dogged bidding wars driving up prices is reduced. And, thanks to current higher interest rates, houses are sitting longer. So instead of going under contract in a day or two, they’re lingering for a few weeks or more.
All in all, even with the changing real estate landscape, wintertime buyers have more flexibility when searching for the right house and making an offer that a seller can’t refuse.
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3) Sellers Are Motivated and Ready to Go
Given a choice, most homeowners would try to sell during the peak summer season. But as military homeowners know, it's not always possible to sell a home in May, June, July, and August. So, as a buyer, know that during the winter season, most sellers have a significant reason for listing their home and they’re likely motivated by a specific timeline. This timeline also allows you to negotiate contract terms like sale price, closing costs, move in dates, and any furnishings you might have your eye on.
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4)Home Inspections Can Reveal More
Sometimes (especially for first-time home buyers), it takes effort to see past a gorgeous exterior and focus on the inner workings of the interior of the house. During the warm months, issues with the home are often camouflaged. For example, owners can showcase a stunning garden or a sundrenched living room instead of the old, inefficient windows.
Over the winter months, however, the weather peels back pretty layers and reveals what’s waiting inside and outside. You’ll see how ice and snow affect the house, including snow removal and telltale signs of inadequate attic insulation.
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5) There Are Tax Savings If You Time it Right
If you execute a carefully planned home purchase, you could take advantage of this year’s homeowner-associated tax deductions if you close by December 31. The IRS says married home buyers can deduct mortgage interest up to $750,000 from their loan on a first or second home. If you file separately or alone, it’s $375,000. If you decide to itemize, you can deduct up to $10,000 ($5,000 single or filing separately) of state and property taxes.
Wintertime home buying has strong appeal for several reasons, from saving money and the option for a longer home search to hiring a team of real estate professionals with extra time to spend on your transaction. Military buyers know that timing is a luxury, so learning to take advantage of an off-season move could be a wise investment in time and money.