It’s well known that spring and summer are the busiest home-buying seasons, but winter has its benefits, too. There are just a few simple rules you should be aware of, whether you’re buying or selling a home.
For buyers: Don’t overspend for the holidays, warns the National Association of Realtors. It can affect your pre-approval, even if you have good credit. The extra debt will negatively affect your debt-to-income ratio.
Use your imagination to picture what the home will look like in summer. We all know homes look drab in winter. You also have to be willing to go out in inclement weather to look at homes in winter, says Freddie Mac.
Be flexible, realizing your closing date may be delayed. If repairs need to be done outside, winter weather may put off closing, adds NAR. Likewise, flexibility may be necessary if you’re called to view a home you really want during the holidays.
Know that just because it’s winter you won’t get your dream house dirt cheap. Yes, prices are generally lower in winter, but because inventory is lower in winter, the law of supply and demand still applies. Fewer homes are available so you’ll still have competition from other buyers, NAR notes.
However, sellers are typically more motivated to sell in winter, meaning they’re more likely to be willing to negotiate, says The Spruce. They may be moving because of a job, financial issues, divorce or other reasons that demand a quicker sale. When a seller is motivated, they're often willing to negotiate on price, closing costs, the closing date or what will be included in the terms of the deal, whether it's furniture, appliances, or light fixtures, adds Freddie Mac.
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