With temperatures dropping low it must look like a fool’s errand to go shopping for a home now. The winter season is typically the time when the market (and weather) cools down as buyer and seller take a break for the holidays. Considering the insane snowstorm that NYC saw last year it would seem crazy to try moving house now. Winter is a time when fewer homes are sold and when fewer people want to move. But as you’ll see, that’s precisely why now is the time to buy a home in winter.
1. There will be fewer people moving
Think about it. These cold months mean fewer sellers that want to meet but also less competition from other buyers. On average, May, June, July, and August make up 40% of housing sales. By contrast, January and February make up less than 6%. With the current buyer’s market in NYC that puts even more power in your hands as you’ll have less competition to deal with. True, you may find your dream home when summer inventory opens up. But your chance of actually buying a home is better in winter when there are fewer buyers and, in particular, less all-cash buyers.
2. Sellers who list in winter are motivated to sell
If a seller is listing their home in the depts of winter, then that means they seriously want to sell. This can give you a big upper-hand in negotiations. When looking through listings, look for properties that have been on the market for several months. The longer it’s been on the market, the more leverage you have when it comes to negotiations. Chances are, you can land a great apartment for a fraction of the price you would have paid six months earlier. Just keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you should severely lowball your offer. Talk with your buyer’s agent and you can find what the right offering price should be.
3. Winter gives you the chance to test out the property
No season puts more pressure on a home than winter. This is the time when pipes freeze, when windows show how truly wind resistant they are, and how good the insulation really is. Inspecting a home in winter allows you to see a property at its most extreme. Sellers will often do what they can to dress up defects in other seasons but there’s little they can do to disguise problems in winter.
4. Hiring movers is usually easier
No doubt, moving furniture in the dead of winter is something no one wants. However, money can speak a lot of languages. Far fewer people move to a new house in the winter which means much less work for moving companies. So long as you are flexible and allow them several days to get the job done, you could get a much better price then you would have in the spring or summer.
5. You will (probably) receive financing much sooner
As with every other industry, mortgage brokers will have much less to do in the winter months. With fewer people applying for loans at this time there will be a far shorter waiting time to get your mortgage application processed. This makes the time to closing day much shorter so you’ll be in your new home in no time.