If you’re willing to dig and trek through ice and snow then home shopping in the winter could be a terrific opportunity for you. If you’re seeing a home for the first time in the winter, then you are most likely going to be seeing it at its worst.
However, this is a big plus! Why you may ask, because you may be able to discover its flaws. You may notice the lack of privacy, loud street noises, drafty windows, or leaks from the melting snow.
Think about it, when you see a home in the spring you’re seeing it at its best. You’re seeing the green grass, flowers, and landscaping which only enhance the home. Seeing a home at its best can often be distracting for buyers because they may miss some of the obvious flaws that could be noticed in the winter.
Remember, you can always ask to see summer and fall photos of the home if you want to get an idea of what it’s going to look like. Most times, smart listing agents will get exterior photos of the home in the spring and summer. Typically, these photos show off the green grass, landscaping, blooming flowers, and a pool if applicable. However, if the agent doesn’t include photos, all you need to do is ask to see some and either the agent or homeowner will come up with pictures for you to see.
One con of buying a home in the winter is that there may be some features that you’re unable to test such as the pool because it’s closed for the winter. This means that you won’t be able to inspect the pool and systems to ensure that they are in good working condition. There could be possible leaks or other damage.
In this case, you should be sure to ask the homeowner to leave some money in escrow in case there are any repairs that will need to be made. If the home owner has a winterized sprinkler system, then that will be another thing to consider.
When in doubt, negotiate escrow funds and always remember to get documentation.
It takes a determined home buyer to trek through the ice and snow to buy a home in the winter, but it can be a window of opportunity!
Typically, in the winter you will have less competition from other buyers and like I said earlier, you’re going to see the home at its worst which means you will be able to easily spot flaws.
Just remember, if you are ever uncertain don’t be afraid to ask for a longer closing or arrange for a home inspection in the spring.
Homes sell all year-round, so just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that you can’t shop for your new home! Just be sure to protect yourself because once a deal closes it is very rare that you can recourse the deal.