The slow season for real estate is upon us, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait for the busy summer season to find your next home. In fact, there are several ways you can use the seasonal lull in the housing market to your advantage. Here are 7 ways to make real estate’s off season work for you:
- Make a more informed decision. Since fewer people are searching for homes right now, you’ll have less competition than you would in the spring. That means less pressure to make a snap decision on one of the biggest investments of your lifetime. You have time to ask all the important questions without as much risk of your prospective home getting scooped up before you make an offer.
- Know your market trends. Most of the country is subject to the seasonal slowdown right now, but there are a couple of areas (Hawaii and Florida for example) that get even busier than usual this time of year due to people in wintery states dreaming of vacation homes. If you spend some time researching where you want to move, it’ll be easier to know when to pounce on the best deal.
- Negotiate. Most sellers list their homes in the busier spring and summer months, when they get snapped up more quickly. If a home is for sale in the winter, it could be that other buyers passed it up in the busy season, or that the seller needs to get rid of the home in a hurry. In either of those cases, the seller would likely be willing to negotiate a lower price just so they can move on.
- Be active. People are a lot less likely to venture out to shop for homes (or much of anything else) when it’s cold, grey, and rainy or snowy outside. Just going to an open house will put you ahead of the game.
- Be flexible. The holiday season is a busy time for people, and sellers might be willing to give you a better deal if you mention you’d be willing to wait until after the holidays to move.
- Find your starter home. Sellers may hold their big showstopper homes until the busy season when buyers will outbid each other for them, but the slow season offers an opportunity to snap up a starter home for a great value. Smaller homes are still being listed, but the competition is less fierce during this time.
- Notice weatherization problems. Shopping for a home in winter will make it easier to catch issues you might miss in the summer—broken heat pump, drafts, single-pane windows, etc.