12 Pros & Cons of Buying a Home in Winter

Posted by Andrew Fortune 6,422 Views

12 Pros & Cons of Buying a Home in the Winter

If you ask most real estate agents about the best time to sell your house, you'll likely hear "in the spring and summer months.” In Colorado Springs, our real estate market nearly doubles in sales from winter to summer. There is a big difference in sales volume between these different times of the year.

For most cities, the summer months tend to have many more homes sold than in winter. This fact causes people to think that the summer is the best time to buy or sell, but it's more complicated than that. For example, a townhome downtown might not have no problem selling in the winter, while a 5-acre horse property may have little chance of selling. It depends on the unique circumstances of each deal.

This article is not meant to persuade you to buy a home in the winter or that it’s a great time to buy. Instead, it’s designed to reveal the pros and cons equally so you can evaluate your situation and determine what works best for you. As we go through all the pros and cons of buying a home in the winter, stay objective and genuinely understand the costs/benefits of this topic.

This information will change depending on the area. If you live in an area that receives heavy snow during the winter months, you'll notice a big difference in sales volume during the Winter. Conversely, states like Florida that receive no snow during winter may see a spike in home sales. In Colorado Springs, our market sells half as many houses at the peak of Winter.

The Pros of Buying a Home in the Winter

Pros of Buying a Home in the Winter

Seller MotivationSellers Are More Motivated To Sell Real Estate in the Winter

Most Realtors recommend waiting until the spring to sell your home because the demand for properties is higher. It's likely that the seller of the home you're interested in really needs to sell now if they’re listing in the middle of Winter.

This extra pressure on the seller can make negotiations easier when buying a house. It doesn't necessarily mean you can come in and lowball everything, but you have more leverage when the seller does not have as many buyers looking at their home. The lack of showings can make them more willing to negotiate with you.

Less CompetitionFewer People Are Looking to Buy a Home in Winter

Since fewer buyers are looking at homes in the winter, it’s less likely that you will have to compete in the same way you would in the Summer months. The pressure to view a home on the day it hits the market is less intense.

Lower competition may mean you can take your time and not be rushed to make an offer immediately. Being less stressed while looking for a home has significant advantages, especially when negotiating with the sellers.

More Attention from RealtorYour Realtor and Mortgage Lender Have More Time in the Winter

Fewer buyers in the Winter typically means slower times for real estate professionals. During the peak of Summer, real estate agents and mortgage brokers get slammed with requests from potential new home buyers. It can be hard to receive the best service if you work with an overbooked Realtor in mid-summer.

The winter months are much easier for real estate professionals, so you'll likely get more attention and one-on-one advising. This can help the home-buying process feel less stressful and give you more information to work with.

Lower Median Sales PriceThe Median Sales Price is Lower in Winter

In January 2022, our median sales price was $445,000. By June of 2022, it had risen to $495,000. That's a 10.6% price increase in just six months.

By October, it had already started dropping back to $485,000 and will likely continue dropping until February or March. This pattern is predictable every year in a cold-weather real estate market.

With more competition comes higher prices. Bidding wars and multiple contracts are prevalent at the height of the market in the Summer. If the competition is less overall, you will likely pay a little less for a home in the winter.

Easy to Find ContractorsIt's Easier To Find Contractors in Winter

Many people who buy older homes plan to do some remodeling. If you need to remodel before moving in, you must engage an aggressive contractor. Unfortunately, contractors can be hard to find in the summer, especially in Colorado Springs.

If you plan to buy a house and remodel it, you'll probably have an easier time doing it in winter when contractors’ workload is slower. You may even get a better price on your remodeling in the winter and finish the job faster.

Less Crazy Market ConditionsHousing Market Conditions are Less Chaotic for Buyers

With the number of homes for sale doubling from winter to summer, the real estate market can become crazy. Buyers may write contract-waiving inspection contingencies and appraisal clauses that they would never do without the added pressure.

Buyers have to move faster when the market moves fast. They may have to forgo the luxury of a home inspection. The process feels out of control and chaotic when it moves too fast. This scenario is the number one reason some buyers decide to wait until the winter to buy a home.

The Cons of Buying a Home in the Winter

The Cons of Buying A Home in the Winter

Impossible to Inspect Certain ItemsIt's Impossible to Inspect Certain Items in Winter

The first con of buying a house in winter is that inspecting the home's exterior is tough. If there is a snowstorm, it's nearly impossible to determine the roof’s condition with the snow on top.

Roof repairs are the number one item that inspectors find in Colorado Springs because we have significant hail damage from hail storms. It's also impossible to check the air conditioning unit because inspectors can't run and test the outside units in cold weather.

Fewer Homes on the MarketThere are Fewer Homes on the Market in Winter

Half as many homes are on the market in the winter as in summer. There are also half as many homes sold in the winter. The real estate market is vastly different in the winter months.

Your chances of finding that unique custom home are less likely in the winter because those properties typically enter the market in Spring so that they can attract the most homebuyers.

If you have precise search criteria that are hard to fulfill, you're twice as likely to find that unique property when the listing inventory doubles in the summer months. The more options you have, the more likely you'll find that special property.

Hard To MoveIt's Harder to Move in Winter

Let's face it, moving in the winter sucks! It’s challenging during a snowstorm, cold, or windy weather.

Having movers bring boxes in and out of your house while it's freezing outside is challenging. Snow will end up getting into everything and then melting inside the house. Moving boxes become compromised and fall apart, which is a real mess.

The hassle of dealing with snow and moving is enough for some to wait until spring, especially in snowy areas.

Hard To Evaluate LandscapingIt's Harder to Evaluate Landscaping on the Property

I bought my last house in November, and the landscaping was barren for the winter months. I was pleasantly surprised when spring came around, and the beautiful landscaping came to life. It was barren when I moved in and fully bloomed 6 months later.

I've also experienced the flip side when spring came around, and I noticed some trees were dead. It's nearly impossible to tell what the landscaping around a home will look like in the summer when you are deep in the winter months. Vegetation gives minimal signals to how healthy they are when it's cold outside, and plants are dormant.

Less Daylight for ShowingsThere is Less Daylight for Showings in the Winter

After the fall daylight saving time change, Colorado Springs starts getting dark around 5:30 p.m. Depending on the property location, it can be as early as 3:30 in the mountains. This challenge makes it much more difficult to view homes in the evening.

In contrast, it will stay light in the summer until around 9:00 p.m. The lack of daylight can quickly squeeze your showing schedule in the winter. This makes buying a home in winter challenging, especially when you get off work later in the day.

Changing schools is hardChanging School Mid-Term May Be Harder On Kids

Changing schools mid-term for families with kids can be disruptive for everyone involved. This scenario is one of the main reasons why so many more homes are sold in the summer months when kids are out of school.

The school year schedule substantially impacts the local real estate market across the United States and significantly increases sales during the summer months.

This con becomes a pro if you are a home-schooling family. You can use this time to your advantage without affecting school as much as public school students.

Final Thoughts on Buying a House in Winter

The best advice for any home buyer reading this article is to find a realtor you feel comfortable with. They will help you work through your specific details to develop a plan of action, whether that means buying in the winter or just finding a home to rent for now.

Once you have a real estate agent, talk to them about your goals. Tell them your thoughts about buying a home in the winter, and listen to their feedback. They should be able to help you better determine the proper timing to purchase a home.

A good Realtor will ensure you are aware of all your options, and they'll help you look out for your best interests. Hire a real estate with plenty of home buying experience who knows the natural effects of winter on the different areas you are considering. Their insider knowledge could help you avoid some surprising revelations later on.

12 Pros & Cons of Buying a Home in the Winter

Andrew Fortune

Hi! I'm Andrew Fortune, the founder of Great Colorado Homes and the creator of this website. I'm also a Realtor in Colorado Springs. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. I am always open to suggestions and ideas from our readers. You can find all my contact info here. Let me know if you need a Realtor in Colorado Springs.

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