Why Winter Can Be A Good Time To Buy Or Sell A House
If you’re a buyer:
In colder months there’s usually less people at inspections Winter can actually be a great time for buyers to go house hunting. Even though it is considered off-season, it could mean that you can find the perfect property for a great price due to less buyer competition.
Often the relative lack of people at viewings comes down to one thing: the weather. It’s a known fact that on miserably cold, rainy days many people would rather hide under the doona than assess bathroom fixtures, meaning there’s often less viewers compared to warmer months. Parents who are also forced to cart around young, bored and cranky children can often totally bypass this house hunting season, feeling it’s in the too-hard basket. For these reasons many potential buyers often prefer to wait until spring to begin house hunting.
There are less bidders and interested parties
“If there are less people at inspections, that could also mean there are less people making offers and bidding at auctions,” says Melissa Urquhart from State Custodians Home Loans. “Even if there are fewer properties available on the market, this could be a great advantage for you when things get serious as you’ll have less competition.”
Real estate agents will have more time for you
With generally less to do, real estate agents will have the time to really show you around as a potential buyer. You could really benefit from their local knowledge and expertise and they might let you in on early pre-market properties before they’re advertised.
It’s a good chance to see how a house holds up
Winter time gives you an opportunity to see how a home really handles the harsher elements during an inspection. This gives you more of a chance to gauge if you’re buying a dream or a dud. Test to see how cold it feels in the house, search for suitable heating systems or outlets. If it’s colder than Antarctica then take a deep (chilled) breath and assess the insulation situation.
Observe whether water leaks in when it’s raining or whether cracks in the windows let in bone-jangling drafts. Most importantly asses how much sunlight the house lets in and whether there is any mould, or damp, which can be a major headache to rectify. Viewing a property during a sunny day might mask these things and lead to a troublesome purchase.
If you’re a seller:
You could have people fighting over your home
If you’re a seller, it also doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get a good price for your property. “There will always be people out house hunting, especially if you’re in a good area,” says Melisssa. “As many home sellers choose to put their homes on the market in spring and autumn, less housing stock could also equate to a higher demand for properties in the market.” This means buyers may be more willing to pay more for your property!
Agents will want to hang out with you
Just as real estate agents may be more attentive to buyers in this period, they will probably be very attentive to you as the seller given it’s a less busy time. Sometimes agents may only have a limited amount of time to spend with you discussing selling strategies. However, given they’re always looking for stock in winter, it means they may be calling you more than your mother. This extra attention could help you sell your property quicker.
You can show off the home in a warm or different light
Winter doesn’t mean your house has to look and feel as gloomy as a disused bus shelter. By taking a different marketing approach, you can easily stop your property from looking dark and dreary. Advertising in winter is the perfect opportunity to present the property in a different light. Features such as heating and insulation help show off how warm and inviting your home can be. Also if it is facing a northerly direction and takes advantage of the warm winter sun, it is a good time to show this off as well.
And given the fading or grey light in winter, photographers might choose to shoot a picture of your home completely brightly lit up at night. These photos are becoming increasingly popular as they can sometimes show off a home in an even more flattering and dramatic light than daytime.
It’s always a challenge wondering when the best season is to buy or sell. Ultimately though, bagging a great place or scoring a great sale is really not so much about the time of year. It’s more about the state of the market and your own financial situation which will really determine a good outcome.
Images: Timothy Oulton
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