Holiday Homebuying? Good Idea Or Not

An often heard comment from friends and clients, including a couple I’m working with now, is “The Holidays are a bad time to buy a home!  There will be more homes on the market in the Spring!”home buying in the winter{[}]{[}]OK, let’s look at this notion. There is some truth in the statement. If history is any guide, there will be more homes on the market for sale in the Spring versus during the Holiday months of November and December. Many home sellers don’t want to have their homes on the market during the Holidays when they will have company or perhaps be out of town.  And if there is work (painting, new carpet, etc.) that the home needs, sellers tend to feel overwhelmed and want to use the Holidays and winter months to work on the “Honey Do” list. Plus, and rightfully so, they think, “My yard looks so drab right now.  It’ll look so much better in the Spring when I plant my flower beds and everything is blooming.”{[}]{[}]Given this thought process, who is selling their home during the Holidays? Banks (foreclosures), home builders and motivated sellers. Now, if you’re a home buyer, who is going to be most negotiable, giving you the best chance to get a “deal”?  Banks and other motivated sellers. Oh, and guess what?  Home builders are almost always more motivated and therefore negotiable at year-end.{[}]{[}]And remember that seller thinking that his/her yard looks drab? When searching for a home in the winter, you’ll see yards at their worst. So, when you look out over the back yard from a home’s patio or deck, you’ll see the worst view of the year. You may see into your neighbor’s yard now whereas in the spring or summer, their yard may be screened by trees.{[}]{[}]Why is this important? Certain homes are best evaluated in the winter months. If a home backs to a busy road or parking lot, you’ll want to know how well screened your home is from the road or lot- and how noisy it is. Thick trees can buffer noise in the summer months but may not buffer as well in the winter. Or, what looks like a lovely wooded and private back yard in the summer could actually become a not so lovely view of a retention pond come winter.{[}]{[}]Of course, you want to think carefully before purchasing a home like this anyway (because someday you’ll be selling yourself), but at least in the winter you can best evaluate the home and yard in its worst condition.  Potential drainage issues are also best evaluated in the winter months, when there tends to be more rain and therefore more potential for erosion.{[}]{[}]One last but important consideration- if you must have a home that gets plenty of sunlight, check out homes on a rainy or dreary day. If a home is dark then, unless there are heavy or closed drapes on the home’s windows, it will still be too dark for you once you move in.{[}]{[}]So, while there may be fewer homes on the market the next couple of months, if you find a home you like right now, chances are the home is already well-priced and the seller will likely negotiate even more off the price. You’ll find that suffering thru the cold weather of a winter home shopping trip pays off!

share post to: