Another mantra is: Spring and summer are prime real estate months. That is generally true but it doesn’t tell the whole picture. Yes, home sales in the Western United States in the slow season accounted for just 71 percent of the sales during the peak season in a recent study but at the same time more high-end homes have sold in Lake Oswego since October than during the entire year.
So, entering the real estate market in the spring and summer is not a hard-and-fast rule. In fact, finding or selling your home in the winter does have its benefits. Here are a few to consider.
- Less competition. Because of the assumption that it’s good to wait until things warm up, the inventory of homes during the winter months is typically less. While it means fewer options for buyers it also means less competition for the homes that are on the market. Chances are you won’t get caught up in a bidding war which is a big plus!
- Better deals. Waiting until the summer could cost you. For example, the average sales price of homes in the U.S. in January of this year was $249,300. By June, that number jumped up to $285.300. That means that winter buyers saved $36,000—nearly a 14.5% discount.
- You might get a better deal with a moving company too. We recently had our daughter’s car shipped across the country. The rate quoted for a November move was $200 cheaper than when we looked in August. The laws of supply and demand apply everywhere. Since fewer people are moving in the winter, moving companies are anxious for your business so you may be able to negotiated a better deal.
- You can close on the deal quicker. Everyone from home inspectors to mortgage brokers to Realtors will have more time on their hands in the winter months which means all your To Do’s and paperwork should process much more quickly.
- Extenuating circumstances could prove in your favor. Sometimes necessity compels a homeowner to put his or her house on the market in these “less than ideal” months. That can mean a motivated seller which is good news for you as a buyer. In addition, if it’s a job transfer that is triggering the move, the homeowner may have a financial incentive from his or her company to sell the home quickly. That translates into someone who is willing to negotiate to perhaps get a $10,000 bonus from his or her employer for unloading the house fast.
- You can see how well the house performs in winter conditions. The cold weather months can be hard on a house so you are primed to see if there are any red flags you should be aware of. Do the windows frost up? Can you feel a draft? How’s the insulation? How do the gutters hold up in the rain? Does the furnace warm things up evenly and efficiently? If there are problems you’ve identified that can be addressed in your offer and negotiations.
- Less competition. As is true for buyers, the same holds true for sellers. With less inventory on the market, you better your chances of selling your home quicker. Of course, that assumes you do all the right things to present your house in its best light including cranking up the coziness with a fire crackling, candles burning, heater warming things up, cleaning up yard debris from fallen limbs to pine needles, making your house light and bright to counteract the gray days and early sunsets.
- Motivated buyers. Chances are that someone who is looking to buy in the winter is a serious buyer for a variety of reasons: relocation, expiring lease, family circumstances. That bodes well for you when it comes time to negotiate. It also means that when you go to the trouble of “prepping” your house for a showing it’s probably for a serious potential buyer and not just a looky-loo.
- Head start on your home search. Chances are if you’re putting your house on the market, you’re looking to buy something else to move on. If you can get yours hold in the winter then you have a jumpstart on all those spring buyers.
I’m here to help no matter when you decide to buy or sell your home in and around Lake Oswego. I’ve been a Realtor for over 30 years and would love to put my experience to making your next move your best one! Give me a call at 503.939.9801, check out my website or connect below. I look forward to helping you!