It’s a common misconception that you shouldn’t try to buy or sell a home during the fall and winter. This period is generally referred to as the real estate “offseason,” but savvy buyers and sellers know how to use the market slow down to their advantage. In fact, depending on your circumstances, now may be the ideal time for you to purchase or list a home.
Read on to discover the top five reasons that it can pay to buy or sell a home during the offseason.
1. LESS COMPETITION
What’s the number one reason to buy or sell a home during the offseason? Less competition!
This can be particularly beneficial if you’re a seller. Come spring, a massive wave of new listings will hit the market. But if you list now, you will have fewer comparable homes with which to compete. That means your home will not only receive more attention from buyers, but you may also gain the upper hand in your negotiations. In fact, research shows that homes listed in the winter are nine percent more likely to sell, and sellers net more above the asking price in the winter than at any other time of year.
Buyers also have a lot to love about the real estate offseason. There are always highly motivated sellers who need to sell quickly. And with less competition to bid against you, you’re in a better position to negotiate a great price. If you’ve been looking for a bargain on a home or investment property, now is the best time to look!
So while a “slow market” may scare off some buyers and sellers, it can actually be the best time of year for you to list or purchase a home. While the rest of the market is hibernating until spring, take advantage of this opportunity to get a jump start on your competition!
2. EVERYONE’S MORE MOTIVATED
During the spring and summer, you’re likely to encounter people who are just “testing the waters.” But the serious buyers and sellers stay active during the cold weather and holiday season, often because they need to move quickly. In fact, homes listed in the winter sell faster than any other time of year.
January and February are peak job hiring months, and life changes like marriage, divorce, and new babies come year-round. While families often find it more convenient to move during the summer, the reality is many can’t wait.
If you prefer to deal with serious, highly-motivated buyers and sellers who won’t waste your time, then the offseason may be the perfect real estate season for you.
3. GREATER PERSONAL ATTENTION
Another key benefit to buying and selling in the offseason is the increased personal attention you’ll receive. While we strive to provide unparalleled client service year-round, we simply have more time available for each individual client during slower periods. Similarly, we find that other real estate professionals in our network—including inspectors, appraisers, and loan officers—are able to respond faster during the offseason. The result is a quicker and more streamlined closing process for all involved.
4. COST SAVINGS
Clients who move during the offseason often report significant cost savings. Moving companies typically offer discounts of 15 percent or more during the winter months. Renovations and repairs can also be less expensive this time of year. Contractors and service providers who are hungry for business may be willing to work for a discount. If you wait until the peak season, you could be forced to pay a premium.
5. EASIER TO MAINTAIN CURB APPEAL
Finally, listing your home during the fall and winter offers one key—but often overlooked—advantage: less lawn maintenance!
Good curb appeal is crucial when selling your home. And if you list during the peak season, you’ll need to implement a regular schedule of mowing, edging, watering, weeding, and trimming shrubs and hedges. If you list in the offseason, however, your lawn maintenance list is significantly reduced. While we do recommend that our sellers keep their exterior clean, tidy, and free of leaves, snow, and ice, you will probably spend much less time on outdoor maintenance during the winter than you would if you listed your home in the summer.
Are You Ready to Make Your Move?
There's no need to wait to buy or sell a home if you're in the market. Take advantage of all the offseason has to offer. Give us a call today to schedule a FREE consultation … and you could be ringing in the New Year in your new home!