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Why You Might Want to Buy a Home During Winter

Winter is the coolest time of year, so house hunting is probably the last thing on your mind. If you’re anything like me, you’d rather be sitting in front of the fireplace, sipping a glass of hot chocolate. You’re probably more concerned with getting your last minute holiday shopping done, but winter can actually be a great time to buy a home. Purchasing real estate during winter offers many benefits. Let’s take a look at some advantages of winter house hunting now.

Less Home Buyers to Compete With

If you’re buying in a popular real estate market like Toronto, you’ve probably come up on the short end of the stick on bidding wars at least once or twice. It can be a frustrating experience to say the least. The best part about winter is that since there are traditionally fewer people looking to buy homes, that means less competition for you when making an offer on a property. Maybe during the springtime a home might see five or six offers, but in the wintertime it may only see one or two offers. This improves your chances of making a successful offer and getting the home of your dreams. You make even be able to make your offer conditional on home inspection to further protect yourself.

Motivated Home Sellers

When negotiating with home sellers, it helps to know their motivation for selling. Let’s be frank, winter isn’t the ideal time to put your home up for sale. Chances are the seller could be a“motivated seller.” They could be selling their home for a slew of reasons –divorce, the death of a family member, job loss or relocating to another city or country. If your real estate agent can find out why the seller is listing their property, you can tailor your offer to suit their needs. For example, maybe they’re looking for a quick close. By doing a 30 day closing instead of a 60 or 90 day closing, you can make your offer that much more attractive without necessarily upping your offer price, keeping more of your hard-earned money in your pockets where it belongs.

Fewer Homes on the Market

At first glance this may seem like a negative. Fewer homes on the real estate market means you’ll have less choice,but hear me out. Too many homes can be a bad thing, too. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of homes for sale. With less homes available, you can focus your search on the homes that meet your needs and not waste time with the ones that don’t. Instead of looking for the perfect home with everything on your wish list, you may be more willing to be lenient and make an offer on a home with most of the important items you’re looking for.

Seeing a Home During the Toughest Season

Another advantage of seeing a home during winter is that you’re seeing it during typically the toughest season of the year. If a home has issues, they’re more likely to show up during wintertime. That being said, there’s a disadvantage to seeing a home during the winter as well. Things may be hidden. For example, if there’s snow all over the roof, you may not be able to see that the shingles are pealing. But there’s nothing stopping you from waiting until a warmer day when the snow melts or going on Google Maps and seeing the condition of the roof a few months ago.

The bottom line is that you want to weigh the pros and cons of buying a home during winter. If you’re financially ready to buy a home, there’s nothing stopping you from getting a head start on your home search. The worst that can happen is that you end up buying in the springtime, but maybe you’ll find a diamond in the rough. You never know, but you don’t find your dream home unless you’re open to looking at properties during wintertime.

About the Author

Sean Cooper is the bestselling author of the book, Burn Your Mortgage: The Simple, Powerful Path to Financial Freedom for Canadians. He bought his first house when he was only 27 in Toronto and paid off his mortgage in just 3 years by age 30. An in-demand Personal Finance Journalist, Money Coach and Speaker, his articles and blogs have been featured in publications such as the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Financial Post and MoneySense. Connect with Sean on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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