IS WINTER A GOOD TIME TO BUY PROPERTY?
Buying a house in winter may not seem like an appealing proposition – house hunting can be a chore sometimes and particularly so on cold rainy days. However, there are some advantages and you may end up with a much better deal than the many who wait for the golden days of summer to buy a house.
Only the Brave
Buying a house in winter is a task that fewer buyers undertake. There are generally less properties to choose from and you may struggle to find exactly what you are looking for as a result of a smaller selection on offer. You also have to get out in the elements – rain, hail or shine – and you may find you return with little to show for your efforts. The advantage of this is that less properties for sale means less buyers and, for you, that means less competition if you find a property you really want.
No Time for Games
The transaction between a vendor and a buyer involves a certain amount of strategy and things can get quite drawn out when a number of buyers are in the game. The advantage of buying a house in winter is that negotiations are frequently completed more quickly. If there are time constraints for the seller to close the deal, they will be more decisive in negotiations, and things can move more quickly than in busier times. Winter tends to attract a more committed and authentic buyer and sellers know this so they tend to respond accordingly.
The Cold Light of Day
One of the key advantages to buying a house in winter is that you can experience the property ‘at its worst’, which can make a huge difference where older properties are concerned. Without the golden filters of summer sunshine, houses will show their age, their cracks and their imperfections more clearly. You will also get a good sense of the property’s orientation, how much natural light it takes in and whether it gets adequate ventilation in the cooler months.
Winter light can be unflattering but the temperatures will also have an important effect on your experience of a property. Walking into a cool dark back room on a hot summer’s day can be a blessed relief, but if you buy in a cooler climate, that room can seem more like a dungeon on a chilly morning in August. Then there are the smells – secret mouldy corners and damp interiors will certainly reveal themselves in the cooler weather in a way that the weeks of long dry days of summer never can.
The Tale of the Ant and the Grasshopper
There are lessons to be learned from this fable – the one where the ant spends the summer toiling away, stocking his larder, repairing and preparing while the grasshopper sings and dances and plays. Winter comes and the grasshopper has no shelter or food while the ant is enjoying the fruits of his labour, cosy and warm with a full belly.
Where property is concerned we can flip this concept. Selling your property in winter and buying a new one means all the boring tasks of packing and unpacking, moving and cleaning are done in the quieter months. Being stuck inside with boxes and tape seems far less arduous on a cold rainy day and all of that toil in winter will deliver rewards!
Settling into your home in spring as the sun returns and the neighbourhood comes back to life can be a metaphor for the new life you will live in your brand new home. As summer heats up, eager buyers pound the pavement with hundreds of others looking for their ideal property. Meanwhile you’ll be relaxing at home, enjoying long leisurely weekends. There is great satisfaction in knowing that your winter was spent productively and you can now bask in the glory of your efforts.