Why is the worst time of the year, often the best time for real estate buyers? The holiday season along with the “worst weather” months are widely considered the worst time of the year for selling or buying real estate. In reality, these distraction-packed months (November thru January) carry some of the best hidden benefits for determined buyers.
Yes, tradition may dictate that you put your dreams and your life on hold to spend and eat too much over the holiday season, and then cut corners when bills come in during the winter. However, “we’ve always done it that way” tradition does not mean we’ve ever done it the right way. What priority do you give your real estate goals and dreams? Is it time for you to break from the buyer “herd” and make sure you receive the best buying opportunity possible?
The key advantage of shopping for a home during “the worst times” is that sellers who have listed their property during these periods are serious, often very serious, about selling. Motivated sellers understand why they benefit from taking offers to purchase seriously and take the time to explore how they may be able to work with the buyers. As we’ve discussed before, it’s about a lot more than purchase price. For instance, offering to match the seller’s perfect closing date can carry considerable value for the seller just as not asking for a huge shopping list of inclusions means savings for sellers.
There’s a practical side, too. Viewing property at “the worst time” can tell you a lot about what you can really expect from a property:
Visit a house during a hard rain and you’ll see how well the gutters do their job. Watch for overflowing gutters, waterfalls at corners, soaked exterior walls, or water in the basement. Observe how the rain water flows off the land. Does it collect around the house or move to the street? The longer water problems from poor maintenance continue, the greater the cost of repairing the damage.
Tour a house on a very windy day and drafts, insufficient insulation, and poorly-sealed windows and doors will be revealed.
Spend time in a house on a cold day and study how well the furnace heats the whole house. When a furnace is replaced, the duct work is not always adapted. Is it noticeably colder in the back rooms? How’s the second floor and the bathrooms?
During the holiday season when parties and cooking are popular pastimes tour condominium units and you’ll see how far noise and smells travel in the building and into the suite or townhome you’re considering.
Are you ready to turn “the worst times for home buying” into the best time for your home search? Start with finding a local Realtor to help you navigate the process ....and happy house hunting!
Sheri Aguilar is the president of the Lodi Association of Realtors and can be reached at Sheri@YourLocalAOR.com