You may not be surprised to learn that home staging has become a huge trend in the real estate industry. This activity of styling and furnishing a property for sale in such a way to enhance its
Don't Be Left Out In the Cold-Why You Should Buy Now
Why would you want to buy a house in the winter? There seems to be so little inventory on the market, the weather is cold and dreary, and houses (and their yards) don't look the greatest. While all those are valid reasons to hold off your home search until spring, let's take a look at some key advantages to buying a house now, before you put away your winter mittens and "for sale" signs start popping up in yards everywhere.
According to the National Association of REALTORS, transactions that occur in May, June, July and August make up 40% of existing home sales, while January and February make up less than 6% (with a month-over-month increase of about 10% until June). While a limited choice of housing inventory means you might not get a house that ticks all the boxes and more summer inventory would mean a greater chance of finding your dream home, there's also less competition with other buyers because not everyone is willing to look at houses in the winter giving you an advantage. Chances of buying any house greatly increase in winter with fewer offers potentially coming in on any one house (because fewer buyers looking), fewer "all cash" or "over asking" offers in general, all which may make your traditional financing that much more attractive and the seller willing to work with you.
Navigating inclement weather can be a real turn-off to buyers who are forced to trounce from house to house (in frigid temperatures, a snow storm or icy weather) searching for one to meet their needs. That said, sellers that sell in winter will have motivation to do so: needing to sell on a specific timeline, rather than wanting to sell, or testing the market to "see what they can get". If you're buying in winter, you may want to take a look at the days on market statistic. The longer the house has been on the market, the more willing a seller may be to work with you. This doesn't mean that you should low ball or make unreasonable demands, which ultimately will do more harm than good and sabotage the negotiation process in the long run. Work with your agent to decide on a negotiation strategy that will make sense and get your offer accepted.
While meticulously manicured lawns, fresh mulch and baskets of flowers are enjoyable to look at during summer showings, the help at looking at a house listed in winter, with it's shoveled driveway and walkways (or not) and brown trees in the yard, is that you're seeing the house at its seasonal "worst". You'll be able to notice details that you may not see at other times of the year: how the driveway ices up, the draftiness of the windows, or the side of the house that needs to be power washed. There're fewer distractions and you're able to focus on the basics as you would if you were living there and not be wooed by potentially strategic staging.
While rationale exists for holding out your home search until spring, being a house buyer in the winter has some serious advantages. If you're looking to buy, now might be the time to get in on the search before the masses enter the market, fast and furious, for the spring and summer markets.
Melissa Rolland is a real estate salesperson, accredited home stager and has been a real estate investor for over a decade, helping hundreds of homeowners buy houses, sell houses, and invest in real e....