Some seasoned investors like to say that timing is everything. Even though the investors who actually live and die by this adage tend to be day traders accustomed to dealing with heavy losses, there is some financial wisdom in their assertion that there will always be better times to pull the trigger on an investment. Real estate investing is nothing like day trading, but historical data shows that there are seasons, months, and even weeks when home buyers are more likely to get an edge at the closing table.
The best time to buy a home is always when you know that it is more convenient for you to complete the transaction. If you want to get more technical about this, winter is the season when you will have a better shot at turning the negotiations in your favor. Although this will not automatically translate into getting a lower purchase price, you may be able to score some points in other areas.
Several factors come into play when we look at real estate for sale during the winter. For the most part, homeowners do not really want to go through the listing process at this time of the year, but those who do probably have strong reasons for doing so, and this means that they are motivated. The inventory may not be as bountiful as it usually is during springtime, but prices tend to be more attractive to buyers, who can in turn gain negotiation power thanks to circumstances such as sellers who need to start the New Year with a cash injection.
On the finance side of things, some mortgage lenders are known to relax their qualifying criteria and fees whenever real estate activity slows down. When you sit down to calculate mortgage payments with a broker who is having a hard time closing deals during the winter, he or she may be more willing to lower the commission basis points, thus lowering the amount of cash you would need to come up at closing.
Now we can talk about housing aspects that are more practical and noticeable during the winter; specifically with regard to how the property would hold up when temperatures drop and snow storms arrive. When touring the property in the winter, you will have a chance to feel how the central heating system is working and whether the insulation is adequate. If the weather stripping is no longer effective, this could become a bargaining factor in your favor; you may be able to push the selling price lower or insist on repairs to be made contingent upon closing.
Finally, as a winter home buyer, you would be in the minority, which means that you may not run into bidding wars or rising prices. Another advantage of waiting for colder days is that you would be less likely to run into mortgage processing gridlock because lenders will not be processing as many applications. Setting up a closing date should also be easier, especially if you schedule it in the days right after the holidays.