The jury is still out as to the best time of year to buy or sell a home. Real estate professionals disagree, with some saying winter and some voting for late spring. No matter the lack of consensus, you may find yourself in a position in which you’re ready to start looking for a home during the colder season, and you want to know the pros and cons of doing so.
While it’s true that more properties generally appear on the market earlier in the calendar year, there are plenty of opportunities for buyers who want to grab a deal during the festive season. If you’re willing to be flexible, and you don’t mind adding house hunting to your list of things to do around the holidays, there’s a chance that you could enjoy significant savings.
Here we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of climbing the real estate ladder during winter in order to help you decide whether it’s the best time for your family to move:
Pro: People are Eager to Sell Fast
For most people, winter is a time of family celebrations and get-togethers. People want to settle in and enjoy the comforts of home, not worry about searching for the ideal property. This means that while there are fewer homes on the real estate market in winter as compared to other months, the sellers that appear are often highly motivated.
Winter sellers often move fast, driven by things like changes in their job, inherited property, or new opportunities. Families may also be eager to sell before the school year starts again. This means that they can’t afford to stay on the market and wait for their full asking price. When your seller is in a rush, you’re in a better position to get an incredible deal that might not be possible at other times of the year.
Con: You May Miss Out on Summer Savings
Winter isn’t the only time of the year that you can snag a great deal if you’re savvy enough. According to some real estate agents, summer is a particularly strong time for buyers in Arizona, because it’s when some families put their homes on the market and move in search of cooler climates. (Note: there’s also plenty of ways to stay in town and beat the heat!)
There’s also a chance that families with children will want to sell faster during the summer season so they can be comfortably moved into their new home before the school year starts. Being settled before children have to start at a new school can help them get acclimated more quickly.
Pro: There’s Less Competition
The festive season can be stressful enough as is, without adding moving to the mix. This means that many buyers will avoid looking for a new property during these final months of the year. This is great news for you because it means you’re less likely to end up in a complicated bidding war that might leave you spending more than your budget allows.
In winter, low demand and the seller’s need for speed mean that you’re in the driving seat when it comes to negotiations. That’s an excellent position for any buyer to be in.
Con: There Isn’t Much to Choose from in Winter
Unfortunately, though there’s less competition in the buying world during winter, there are also fewer homes to choose from. This could make it potentially harder to find the property of your dreams at the end of the year.
Importantly, this rule may not apply to first-time buyers who are looking for a starter home. According to Trulia research, the number of starter homes on the market increases by around 7% during the last three months of the year. However, this won’t help you much if you’re looking for a luxury home or an upgraded residence.
Pro: You’ll Have Plenty of Help
Since home sales aren’t as frequent during the winter months, you could find that the entire process from showing to closing moves a lot faster, particularly since your real-estate agent may be dedicated entirely to you. You won’t be competing for attention with other clients, which means that you get the support you need to buy fast.
You may also find that other forms of moving support are easier to book. For instance, you won’t have to wait weeks for a moving company to be available when you’re ready to start transporting your belongings to your new home.
Con: Your Family Life Will be Disrupted
Ultimately, house hunting and moving into a new home will always require a certain level of flexibility. You may need to be ready to move at a moment’s notice regardless of the time of year. However, it’s particularly tough to be spontaneous during the winter months.
When you’re likely to be moving and packing throughout the winter season, chances are that other celebrations like Thanksgiving and Christmas will fall to the wayside. While this might be a sacrifice that you’re willing to make, be sure to communicate with your family — and children, especially — about what to expect so they aren’t frustrated or disappointed.
Should You Buy a Home in Winter?
Ultimately, only you can decide whether buying a property in winter is the right move for you and your family. There are pros and cons to buying at almost any time of the year, and the best way to get started is to make sure you know what you’re getting into.
If you’re looking to buy in the Phoenix market, Aderra is a resort-style condo community offering immaculate residences, coveted amenities, and more. Learn more about us here!