While the summer temperatures rose, the weather didn't prevent you from walking the neighborhoods in search of a great new house to purchase. During your lunch break on work days, you scoured the Internet to look for ideal places while emailing your real estate agent of your top picks. During the weekends and evenings, your real estate agent showed you homes and new neighborhoods. Now the summer is winding down. The kids are headed back to school and there seems to be less time to search for home. What to do?
Fall and Winter are Great Times for Home Hunting
Just because the leaves are changing color and Summer is fading away, doesn't mean that you have to halt your house search until next spring. Fall and winter are perfect times to locate the property that you always wanted. During these different seasons, home sellers are often more motivated to move their house off the market and close on the deal before the holidays arrive. Home sellers may not want to spend another year trying to attract buyers, or deal with more repairs and upkeep when winter and the holidays arrive.
There are also advantages to home buyers during the end of the year. There might be less competition with other home buyers! And because there may be fewer buyers, home sellers may be more likely to negotiate with the few interested buyers who come to look at their home. Sellers may not want to give up the chance of letting an offer slide off the table. Home buyers also may have more flexibility with the closing and occupancy date due to the holidays and weather, which can be an advantage to both you and the seller.
Make the most out of the fall and winter when looking for a new place. Here are several tips to use that can help home buyers locate a home that fits into those homeownership dreams.
Book Home Showings on Rainy and Cold Days
It's pouring rain outside? Good! Have your real estate agent book a showing and make arrangements to come with you to the house. It is the perfect time to check for leaks, drafts, and how well the furnace or heater works. Should you find any issues, decide if the home is worth the listed price when making an offer. If you are still interested in the home, adjust your offer to compensate for any items you noted in your home showing. Also, take important notes of how the landscape slopes and where water runoff goes to on those rainy days. You may find important grading problems that might lead to standing water or, if the home has one, a wet basement.
Don't Get Hung Up on Curb Appeal, it's Winter!
Except in certain areas of the United States (California and the Southern states) curb appeal usually drops during the fall and winter as trees, bushes and gardens are bare of leaves. There also maybe snow that covers the ground. So focus more on the house itself versus the outdoor property unless there is a large number of untended shrubs, debris or garbage in the yard or around the home. Instead, think about the changes that might be made to the yard that will have it looking fabulous during the spring and summer.
Be Open to Changing the Locations of the Home Search
In snowy and icy parts of the country, your home search location may have to change due to weather and road conditions. But look at this as a good thing. As many real estate agents will confess, many home buyers end up purchasing their new home in an area where they did not originally plan to buy. Also, searching for a home in the snow, a potential home buyer can see which streets are plowed and how often.
Not every location will experience low home inventory and fewer buyers in the Fall and Winter months. Homes in more temperate climates -- such as the lower West Coast, lower East Coast and southern state locations, they may still have mild fall and winter temperatures that may not affect the number of homes for sale. So if you are looking for a home in an area you are not familiar with, understand these factors, as well as how weather may affect your home search.
By keeping the following tips in mind, a home buyer will be able to locate a great home in the fall and winter that will live up to all of their expectations. So plan carefully on how to search for homes during these seasons to find a great house for your needs.