Though the real estate market is nowhere as hot as it was, let's say, two years ago, the fact of the matter is that home prices are going down, and some people are still looking to buy. Rising interest rates and a stricter mortgage stress test may have led to a decline in affordability, but if you're still hoping to move in 2019, this may be your time to buy before another interest rate hike - and according to our experts, we may see two to three more this year. Fall and winter are often considered less desirable times of the year to search for that perfect home. Many home buyers prefer the hustle and bustle of the spring market, plus moving during the summer months means fewer interruptions to school and work schedules. But there are advantages to waiting until the quieter months of fall and winter that may make you change your mind. Here are some of the benefits of buying a home during the off-season:
This is easily the best part of shopping during the off-season. Since there are fewer buyers in the market, you won't feel rushed to make an aggressive offer when you find something you like, in fear of losing out to someone else. You’re free to take time before making your decision, as bidding wars are less likely.
There are also less listings to pick from since this isn't peak selling season either. At first, this may sound like a drawback, but sometimes less is more. The fewer homes there are on the market, the less time you’ll spend viewing each place. Viewing fewer homes will give you an opportunity to take time to evaluate each home you do visit thoroughly, which will then make the decision-making process easier. It also takes away the pressure of making a rushed, uninformed decision before you buy a home.
Sellers are more flexible
Since there are fewer home buyers during the colder months, sellers may also get less competitive offers and be much more flexible when it comes to negotiations. When there are many buyers vying for the same property, the seller has the power to make demands – or reject demands. But when there are fewer hands reaching for the pot, the buyer often has the upper hand and can ask for more. This includes a lower price, as well as any conditions they may wish to apply.
More attention from your agent
During the busy spring and summer seasons, finding a realtor who is both experienced and available can prove to be difficult. The opposite is true during the quieter seasons. You’ll find that a less crowded market means a more attentive agent since they have less business to attend to. Feel free to ask questions, compare agents before settling with one, and rest assured that your agent has your best interests in mind and is taking the time to find the property that most suits your lifestyle.
Better access to service providers
Looking for a mortgage broker, staging service, or moving company? The good news is that choosing to buy during the off-season means these guys are less busy than usual - giving you a wide range of service providers to choose from. This also means they may be more willing to give you better rates and discounts. So if you’re looking for a good deal, the off-season is the time to seek them out. So while moving when it's cold outside may be a pain and there may be fewer properties on the market, there are certainly many pros to shopping around during fall or winter. Know that you have the upper hand in most situations and you’ll likely find just what you need – and likely at a better price.
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This post has been updated.