When it comes to buying a house, conventional wisdom would have us believe spring and summer are the prime purchasing months. The sun is shining, gardens are in bloom and “For Sale” signs start to spring up… but perhaps we’re missing out.
When the temperature drops, so too do listing prices, making it the perfect time to snag a real-estate deal. People aren’t less enthused to pack up their worldly possessions into moving trucks in sub-zero temperatures. With fewer offers coming in, wintertime sellers are more willing to reduce listing prices to try and close as quickly as possible.
Stomp Out the Competition
With the competitive real-estate markets in Canada’s urban centres, bidding wars have become part and parcel of purchasing a property. But with fewer potential buyers stomping the icy pavement during the winter months, there’s less competition when it comes to bidding. Without the hordes of similarly situated people vying for the same property, you have more time to think through your offer.
Since early summer is when real estate fetches the highest prices, if a seller is listing during winter they’re clearly motivated to move. It could be they got a job offer in another city or they inherited the property and don’t want to maintain it. This translates into a higher willingness to talk terms – closing cost, selling prices and the closing date are all open for negotiation.
Knock Out the Competition
Since many sellers will hold off until sprint to list their property, the inventory during the darker months will be lower. And while that means there will be fewer property options, it is possible to find what you’re looking for – with less competition.
One on One
With fewer listings and sales happening over the winter months, you’ll have the undivided attention of your real-estate agent. Spring can be a hectic time for agents, so take advantage of their seasonal slump to make your house hunt a priority.
Not Through Rose-Coloured Glasses
Sales spike in the spring and summer because homes look their best in warm sunlight, rather than under a sheet of ice. Wintertime is when problems start to show – leaky roofs, busted gutters or broker boilers make their presence known. Seeing a home at its worst will help you negotiation a better price and give you an idea of what to expect.
Roll the Dice
Everyone wants the best mortgage rate possible, so buying before they have a chance to go up could be a smart move. They might not increase, of course, but it’s a risk waiting until the new year. Talk to a mortgage broker about the financial climate now so you’re not stuck paying more for your mortgage later.
Skip the frantic selling frenzy and bidding wars of spring, and go out and get those deals in the dead of winter. With fewer properties and fewer buyers, let the low supply and low demand work in your favour and find your forever home.