By: Steven Vulpis
If you are in the market for a new house, looking for a vacation home, or maybe you want to buy a house so you can improve it and flip it, then you should know when the best time to buy real estate is. While some people may say it is hard to time the market and that there is no “best” time to buy a house, the fact of the matter is, the best time to buy property is during the winter months.
There are various reasons why winter is the best time to invest in property. First of all, you will be facing less competition from other buyers. Many families that are searching for a new home will put off their search in the winter because they do not want their children to change schools in the middle of the school year. Additionally, most people will stop looking for houses in the winter due to their busy holiday schedules and because of the bad weather. Less competition from other buyers means that you are less likely to engage in a bidding war and increases your negotiating power with sellers.
In addition to increased buying power, prices for homes in the winter are significantly lower than the rest of the year. One study shows that single-family homes cost about 8.5% less in the winter than they do in the summer months. Some reasons for why the prices drop so much is that many houses that are still available in the winter have been listed for multiple months. If a house has been listed for a large period of time, it may become unattractive to potential buyers, thus, the property owners will be more willing to enter negotiations and seal a deal as soon as possible. Additionally, if someone lists their home in the winter they may want to get a deal done quickly so that their home is not overlooked in the summer due to it having been listed for many months.
Another reason that prices drop in the winter is because people who list their home are motivated to sell. Most realtors will recommend you list your house for sale in the peak summer months. If people are being pressured to sell their house due to personal reasons and list it in the winter, then they most likely need to sell their house now and will be easier to work a deal out with.
In addition to the financial reasons for winter being the best time to invest in property, one non-financial reason is key as well. If you look at homes in the winter you can see how they hold up against a challenging climate. You will be able to tell how well the house keeps out the cold, if the heat works properly etc. By doing this you can also save money on possible future repairs and improvements.