The “best deals” for home buyers often happen in winter. Sure, there are fewer homes on the market to pick from, but homes newly listed or still on the market when it’s cold outside, are there for a reason: Sellers either need to sell now, or the property didn’t sell earlier in the year.
Plus: With fewer buyers out looking, there’s less competition for those homes. In a tight market like Reno/Sparks, that can make a huge difference in actually getting a home. Multiple offers still happen, particularly in the lower price ranges, but a buyer in Reno/Sparks might be up against one other offer vs. six.
Here are five great reasons to buy a house between December and May:
- Bang for your Buck
In a tight market like in Reno/Sparks, prices tend to jump several percentage points as the weather warms. On average, about 40% of homes sell in spring and summer (May – August), according to The Housing Wire. Homes generally sell for $1,500 – $3,000 more than those sold in winter, according to Zillow.
- Sellers are Motivated (or Finally Ready)
Whether a house is a new listing, or simply didn’t sell earlier, sellers tend to be serious, and ready to consider all offers, during the winter. This may give buyers more room to negotiate and perhaps get a better deal.
- Fewer Choices = Easier Decision
Fewer homes may seem like a disadvantage at first, but perhaps it’s not.
There’s an overabundance syndrome known as the paradox of choice. This happens when people have so many good options they dither and end up losing out or second guessing themselves. They dwell on the “what ifs” – which leads to less satisfaction with whatever choice they make.
- More Attention
Buyers flood the market in spring and summer, which strain the time resources of Real estate agents, lenders, title companies and other professionals. In winter, homes may not sell in two days. And, once in contract, it takes less time to arrange for appraisals, inspections and repairs.
- Furnishing a New Home May Cost Less
Need new appliances or furniture for that new home? In general, winter sales offer great savings, according to Consumer Reports.
Conclusion: A buyer may indeed find that perfect home in winter. If not, looking now helps buyers clarify what “perfect” means. By doing their on the ground research now, when that ideal home does come up for sale, they’re ready.
Buying a home is the largest investment most people ever make, and should not be done in haste just to save money. Consulting with a lender, personal finance professionals all come into play before buying a home at any time of year.
That said, do consider starting your search soon. Forecasters say the housing shortage in Reno/Sparks will continue for some time.
Holly O’Driscoll is a Realtor (R) with Chase International Real Estate in Reno, Nevada. Email her at Hodriscoll@chaseinternational.com or call her at 775-850-5900.
Thanks to Mike Pulley, who contributed to this article.