Pros and Cons to Buying a Home in the Winter

Posted by Lauren Schneider on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019 at 8:46am.

How to Shop For A Home in the WinterBuying a home is often a stressful experience. Not only do you want to make sure you are purchasing the right home for you, but there could be other external factors that make homebuyers easier or more complicated. For example, if you have children, you may want to consider the time of year that you move. A growing trend that many real-estate experts once discouraged is purchasing a home during the winter. This was once frowned upon by the industry, but the benefits and advantages are making winter purchases ideal for many homebuyers.

Winter is actually a great time to be shopping for a home, but it can come with its own set of challenges as well. Since November, the average home price in The Springs has cooled slightly and the average days-on-market has risen a little as well, which is great news for prospective buyers. If you’re shopping around for a home this winter, here are some pros and cons to consider when buying a home in winter.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

The Pros and Cons of Winter Home Buying

Here are some of the pros and cons of buying a home in the winter:

Pro: Reduced Competition

Since fewer people are looking to purchase a home in the winter months, you’ll be faced with less competition in the market. This means that you have more negotiating power, especially with a seller who is looking to sell fast for things such as tax purposes or to quickly facilitate a job relocation. These factors all make winter the cheapest month to buy a house. Reduced competition also means there will be less pressure on you to put in an offer right away and you can better consider the weight of your decision.

Con: Viewings Can Be Problematic

During the winter, the sun sets pretty early, making it difficult for buyers to schedule viewings during the week. To properly view a house, you’ll want to do so in the daylight, which is severely limited during the winter.

Pro: Less Foliage Gives a Better View

When all the leaves have fallen from the trees, you can get a better lay of the land and view of the home you’re looking at. In many cases, lush greenery can often hide unpleasant views or aspects of the home that you may not like. With bare trees, everything is out in the open and you get the best view possible.

Con: Low Inventory

With fewer homebuyers looking to purchase a home during the winter, more sellers simply wait to put their homes on the market until a busier time of year. This means that the inventory is reduced during the winter. Not having as many homes to choose from can make your decision harder, however, if you already have a solid idea of what you’re looking for, you may not be bothered by low inventory.

Pro: Easier to Spot Problems

In the winter, we experience increased precipitation and adverse weather conditions. Seeing a home at this time of year will help you point out any problem areas, which may need addressing before moving in. Winter home inspections can spot issues such as leaking roofs, broken gutters or even flooding around the property are all things that you can spot in a home during the winter.

Con: Holiday Spending

The holidays are at the forefront of everyone’s mind during the winter. With the stress of entertaining, buying gifts, and celebrating, you may not want to add the cost and stress associated with purchasing a house. Before deciding if winter buying is right for you, you must take an objective look at your life and decide if you are willing to make sacrifices to enjoy the benefits of buying a home during the winter.

Common Red Flags for Home Buyers in Winter

In winter, it can be harder to detect flaws or red flags hidden in the home. From foundation cracks hidden under snow to bad odors masked by holiday scents, home buyers will need to be more discerning to ensure they buy a good home for their household.

What's Beneath the Snow?

There’s no denying that a home with a fresh sprinkle of snow on top is very pretty. However, ice and snow also does a great job at covering up some less than desirable faults with the home, including cracks in the foundation or issues with the roof. If you can, insist to have the home inspection on a day where the weather is a little more neutral so that the inspector can get a good look at every part of the home.

Bad Smells in the Home

It’s very common for sellers to bake cookies or light candles just before a showing as a way to create a home-sweet-home feel for the potential buyer, but sometimes they’re doing it as a means to mask some not-so-desirable scents. If you walk into a home that’s been clearly doused in Fabreeze, there might be something more going on.

A Low Price for the Home

One of the biggest ways you can tell that a buyer is motivated to sell their home is if it’s listed for an incredible price. But you have to ask yourself, what’s motivating them to sell for so little? A low price is always something to be a little skeptical about, but especially at this time of the year.

One of the challenges of buying during the winter is that the home inspector might not be able to find things they could in the summer. Some pests, for example, lie dormant during the cooler months then become active again when the warmer weather arrives. If these bugs aren’t around when the home inspector is looking at the home, they could be missed. Some heating and cooling systems can also be harder to check in the wintertime too.

Work With a Real Estate Agent to Buy a Home in Winter

For more winter home buying or selling tips, contact Military Home Search in Colorado Springs at 719-373-1906 or toll-free at 800-205-6170.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

Lauren Schneider

Lauren Schneider, Real Estate Agent and Military Relocation Professional (MRP)

Lauren Schneider has lived in Colorado Springs for nearly 20 years and knows that the military is what keeps this town ticking, which is one of the reasons she's chosen to pursue her dream of helping military families with all of their homebuying needs. Learn more about Lauren or start your home search now

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