This is a question that every person looking to buy a new home should ask themselves - does the time of year when you try to buy a new home really matter?
Well, it does. But there are pros and cons to consider.
During what I like to call the three coldest months of the year - December, January and February, buying your next home can be next to impossible. For instance, my younger sister is currently looking to buy a home and she wants to be in her new home ASAP so she doesn't have to resign her apartment lease for another year. I told her to start looking MONTHS AGO, but you know what they say - everyone has to learn from their own mistakes. And she's definitely learning.
A pros and cons list is always helpful when deciding to buy a new home, so let's put one to the test on this debate:
PRO: Many sellers are willing to go down in price just to sell their home during the snowy season. This could prove to be an opportunity for a buyer, even if you have to compromise a bit on what you want in a home.
CON: There aren't as many homes on the market during the wintery months, so the chances of finding your dream home are slim.
PRO: It's easier to really tell what the house will look like when all of the plants and trees around it are more brown than colorful. Plants and trees can sometimes mask flaws on a home's exterior, so with those out of the way, you should be able to see everything.
CON: That said, you'll have to use your imagination to envision what the house will look like with all of those plants and trees in full bloom during the warmer months.
PRO: There are usually fewer buyers during this time of year, which means less competition for you.
CON: However, a lot of the time you have to move faster than normal - even though there are less people looking, the ones who are out there are on the hunt. If you find a house that you love, jump on it and make an offer right away...or it might not be there tomorrow.
PRO: Because fewer loans are being processed through banks and mortgage lending companies during winter months and more realtors are more available, the complete turn-around time for purchasing may be shorter than average.
Leslie Eicher of Staging That Sells recently blogged about this topic as well: "Conventional wisdom holds that the housing market is most active during the spring, stays pretty active during the summer, starts to peter out in the fall, and is almost dead in the winter. Data gathered by St. Louis REALTORS® for the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County supports this trend: In our area, single family homes sold for a median price of $164,767 in the fall of 2016, and dipped to an average $155,000 in the winter. Active listings dropped from an average of about 6,905 to 5,428 from fall to winter, and the length of time that houses stayed on the market rose from approximately 110 days, on average, in the fall to about 119 days in the winter. By contrast, home prices began to recover right off the bat in March 2017, with the median selling price starting at $159,900 (up almost $5,000 from the winter average) and rising to a summer average of $184,267. Active listings rose to 6,250 in March and continued that upward trajectory to reach a summer average of 7,001 listings. The length of time that houses stayed on the market dropped significantly from the winter average to 92 days in March and hovered around that number for the summer."
So now it's up to you. If you think it's worth your while to search for your new home in the snowy months, go for it! But if trekking around in snow boots isn't for you, maybe wait until Spring.
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