The holiday season and the following “worst weather” months are widely considered the worst time of the year for selling or buying real estate. In reality, these distraction-packed months – November to February – carry benefits for determined buyers.
Join the “herd” of buyers who are active during traditional “good weather” home shopping months – starting with the spring frenzy of home buying – and this competition for properties can mean buyers pay more, lose out on good-value listings, and receive less attention from swamped real estate and mortgage professionals.
Get outside the traditional “box” of right times to buy and you’ll deal with sellers who are very committed to selling, real estate and mortgage professionals able to give you their full attention, and less competition for good-value listings. This lack of competition should mean you get more for your money with less hassle, more personalized service from real estate and mortgage professionals, and time to make confident decisions.
Yes, tradition may dictate that you put your dreams and your life on hold to spend and eat too much over the holiday season, and then cut corners when bills come in during the winter. However, “we’ve always done it that way” tradition does not mean we’ve ever done it the right way. What priority do you give your real estate goals and dreams? Is it time for you to break from the buyer “herd” and make sure you receive the best buying opportunity possible?
The key advantage of shopping for a home during “the worst times” is that sellers who have listed their property during these periods are serious, often very serious, about selling. Motivated sellers understand why they benefit from taking offers to purchase seriously and take the time to explore how they may be able to work with the buyers. As we’ve discussed before, it’s about a lot more than purchase price. For instance, offering to match the seller’s perfect closing date can carry considerable value for the seller just as not asking for a huge shopping list of inclusions means savings for sellers.
There’s a practical side, too. Viewing property at “the worst time” can tell you a lot about what you can really expect from a property:
- Visit a house during a hard rain and you’ll see how well the eavestrough system does its job. No overflowing gutters, waterfalls at corners, or soaked exterior walls. There should not be exterior water damage or water in the basement (at least from that source). Observe how the rain water flows off the land. Does it collect around the house or move to the street? Pooling may indicate a potential basement problem. The longer water problems from poor maintenance continue, the greater the cost of repairing the damage. Paint may camouflage the trouble, but the problem will persist.
- Drive by houses after a fresh snowfall and you’ll discover which are well insulated (snow on roof) and which are losing heat (melted snow).
- Tour a house on a very windy day and drafts, insufficient insulation, and poorly-sealed windows and doors will be revealed.
- Spend time in a house on a cold day and study how well the furnace heats the whole house. When a furnace is replaced, the duct work is not always adapted. Is it noticeably colder in the back rooms? How’s the second floor and the bathrooms?
- During the holiday season when parties and cooking are popular pastimes tour condominium units and you’ll see how far noise and smells travel in the building and into the suite or townhome you’re considering.
- Ask an experienced real estate professional for their “best things” about “worst times”.
Are you ready to turn “the worst times for home buying” into the best time for your successful real estate transaction?
Onward & Upward – the directions that really matter!
Written by PJ Wade