Watch CBS News

Why you shouldn't let winter freeze your homebuying efforts

If you think summer is the best time to buy a house, think again. Winter may be an even better season for home buyers.  Steve Smith

As winter weather adds icicles to bare tree branches, many who are on the hunt for a new home are putting their house-hunting efforts on pause. After all, most people would rather stay indoors when winter weather hits rather than run around town looking for the perfect home. 

But did you know that letting winter weather freeze your homebuying efforts could be a mistake

There are several hidden benefits to purchasing a home during winter. In fact, there's a strong argument that winter is the best season for home buyers. Here's why you may not want to let winter put your house hunt on hold. 

Compare your mortgage options online now

Why you shouldn't let winter freeze your homebuying efforts

If you've thought about putting your house hunt on ice this winter, you're not alone. The real estate market historically slows during the colder months of the year. But that also means there could be opportunities in the winter that you simply won't find in the summer. 

"Even though many people think of spring and summer as the best time of year to buy a home, there are many reasons why house hunting in winter can be a great choice," says Doug Seabolt, CEO of Rocket Homes. Here's why.

There's less competition in the winter months

With fewer buyers in the market, you may have less competition to contend with. That's good news for a couple of reasons: 

  • Offer acceptance: If you make an offer on a home during the warmer months of the year when more buyers are in the market, you may need to offer more than the home's asking price to stand out against the competition. That's not typically the case during the winter months, explains Seabolt. "Since less people think to search for a home in the winter, there are fewer shoppers to compete with, meaning the buyer is less likely to enter a bidding war and more likely to have their offer accepted," he says.  
  • Negotiation power: Sellers are more likely to negotiate with you when you're the only person making a reasonable offer on their home. That means you could end up paying less money for a home in the winter months than you would during the warmer months of the year.  

Get your mortgage pre-approval online today

You could close faster

When the housing market is to be busiest during the summer months, competition is just one concern. The time it takes to close is another. After all, when real estate is booming, inspectors, loan officers and other experts who are typically involved in the purchase process may be booked. 

In the winter, these same experts tend to have less business. Since business is slower for them, your home purchase becomes more of a priority, which may mean you can close on your home more quickly. 

Movers may be more available (and cheaper)

If you've ever taken on the task of moving on your own, chances are that you don't want to do that again. However, if you purchase a new home when the real estate market is busiest, you may find that movers are busy — and it may be difficult for them to accommodate your schedule.

"Another bonus of house hunting in the colder months is that moving companies and real estate agents are more likely to be more flexible due to being less busy, allowing them to have extra time in their schedule to accommodate a buyer's schedule," says Seabolt. 

You could also save money on your move. Because movers typically have less business during the winter months, you may be able to negotiate better rates. 

You'll learn how the home holds up in bad weather

You may not like getting out in icy, wet or cold weather, but it's in this type of weather that you tend to see what a home is made of. Purchasing a home in winter weather means you'll be able to see how the home performs in those conditions before you buy it. That means you may be able to see things like: 

  • How well heating systems hold up to cold temperatures
  • Whether or not the roof has a leak
  • How well the structure holds up to the weight of snow and ice

Ultimately, bad weather can make it easier to see if the home needs costly repairs before you make an offer. 

Don't wait for more competition to set in. Lock in your mortgage now

The bottom line

There are several advantages to buying a home during the winter season. So, if you put your homebuying efforts on ice this season, you could be missing out. Enjoy the benefits of less competition in the market by searching for your new home now. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.