Are you thinking of diving into the home hunt? If so, you may be wondering if it’s the ideal time of year to do so. Many people will tell you to wait until spring, but the truth is that every buying season comes with its benefits and challenges. The key to a successful purchase—whether it’s in April or December—is knowing what to expect and ensuring that you’re prepared. If you’re ready to buy, here are four tips you can use to make the most of your home purchase over the winter.
1) Look past the staging
Once the colder weather hits, buyers tend to be drawn to cozy environments. That’s where staging comes in. The addition of carefully-selected furniture and decor can highlight a home’s potential—and camouflage its flaws. If you’re touring houses when it’s gloomy out, be aware of the psychological effect that an appealing atmosphere can have. Don’t let a homey rug, plush blanket, or roaring fire distract you from significant issues that would otherwise stand out. Remember: there’s nothing wrong with falling in love with a home right away, but it always pays to do your due diligence.
2) Watch for cold-weather issues
Homes tend to show very well in spring and summer. During these warmer seasons, buyers may be less likely to notice particular issues impacting the houses they tour. It’s easy to love a gorgeous space when the weather is nice and the sun is shining. In contrast, seeing that same space in the winter could call attention to a faulty heating system, drafty windows, or poorly-insulated pipes. That’s good news for you as a buyer. It allows you to either move on and find a more winter-ready home, or negotiate with the sellers based on their house’s shortcomings.
3) Take advantage of negotiations
Conventional wisdom says that spring is the best time to sell, and many people who put their homes on the market in winter do so because they need to make a sale quickly. For this reason, buyers have an advantage during the negotiation process. Sellers are typically highly motivated at this time of year—and because they’re eager to close, they’re also more likely to be open to negotiations. Working with an agent who’s an expert negotiator can help ensure that you achieve the best outcome possible during your purchase.
4) Stay flexible
While you’re in a good position as a winter buyer, it never hurts to create a rapport with someone who you hope to purchase from. A simple act, like readily agreeing to reschedule a viewing, can go a long way toward impressing a seller. This is especially true during the holiday season, which is a hectic time for everyone. Consider creating some goodwill this winter by showing that you’re willing to work with a seller’s timetable.
Like any other season, winter can be a great time to dive into the home hunt. With a bit of forethought and preparation, you’ll be well on your way to completing a successful home purchase!
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