House Hunting During the Holidays: Pros and Cons

People buy homes in all seasons, but most homebuyers view properties in spring and summer. Does that mean autumn and winter are bad times to purchase? Not necessarily. Like purchasing homes in the warm season, buying them in the cold season has some inherent pros and cons. Let’s take a look at what they are.

Pro: Not as Much Competition                

In places where the cold season brings snow and ice, home sales tend to hibernate during late autumn and winter. People spend money celebrating holidays instead of saving for big purchases, and abandoning a familiar home for a new one can bring stress at a time when many people take unused vacation days, hoping to relax.

In addition, as explains, “Families like to move during the summer, when there’s a break in the school calendar, so they don’t have to disrupt their children’s school year, and allow the family to get well-settled before the new school year. Plus, it’s often easier to move in the warm spring and summer months than during winter snows.”

Con: Fewer Properties for Sale 

According to real estate broker Kevin Lisota of Findwell Real Estate, home listings peak in the summer and “go down somewhat in September, more in October, down considerably more in November, and then fall off a cliff in December.”

Home shopping in cold weather might not give you as many options as shopping in summer. On the flipside, the homes you see probably won’t sell as quickly as they would in July, which gives you more time to consult with your lender, and make a more informed decision. 

Pro: See How Homes Look in the Cold

If you limit home shopping to spring and summer, you don’t see how the appearance of a residence changes after seasonal foliage falls away. The aesthetics of some homes don’t change much in cold weather, but other homes look like exceptionally stark after thriving flower gardens, climbing vines, and tree leaves disappear.    

You could also say the same thing about limiting home shopping to autumn and winter: You don’t see how homes appear in spring and summer. However, because plants and trees can have a major impact on curb appeal, there’s a good chance that a realtor has photos of how a home looks in warm weather.   

Con: Holiday Scheduling Conflicts

Like you, realtors and lenders are likely to be busy during the holidays with family gatherings, company parties, church activities, etc. This means that connecting with real estate professionals to view or buy a home could be tougher than it would be in warm weather, when these parties to the home buying process devote more time to listing, showing, and selling properties.    

Pro: Prices Can Be Lower in Winter

In a report on seasonal home buying for the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Jim Gallagher explains, “In St. Louis County, houses that sell in December and January go for 91.8 percent of the original asking price, compared with 95.1 percent for those sold in July.”

Let’s say you have your eye on a home listed at $200,000 in December. If you purchased the home in July, you would hypothetically pay $6,600 more. That equates to tacking on an additional 3.3% of the home’s list price in December. For most buyers, this isn’t a small amount, especially when the interest rate for a long-term mortgage is factored in.      

Will a Home Be Your Christmas Gift?

If so, using one of our First Mortgages could help you tie it up with a bow. To learn more about your mortgage options with our credit union, call us today at (800) 325-9905, or email us through our contact form. We look forward to helping you buy a home with affordable financing!

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