The Pros & Cons of Buying Your New Home in the Off-Season

Buyers will be buyers, and sellers will be sellers. It’s that time of year when the real estate market cools off with the weather and the wintery celebrations ensue – but none of that means the market comes to a grinding halt.

No, not at all.

We’re coming at this week with our take on buying during the soggy season of Fall and Winter. We’ll start with the drawbacks to get the negativity out of the way, and go on to the positives and tips to help you find your dream home this season!

The drawbacks to buying in the off-season.

Less homes coming to market. The end of the year is brimming with holidays, travel, shopping, and school vacations – so, it’s not the best time for what some may consider an inconvenience. This may limit your choices, but there’s also less buyers…

It’s cold. It’s snowy. And you might have less visibility. This one is kind of a good thing and bad thing. Let me explain. When you buy during the summer, the weather is great, and most homes hold up well in sunny weather. On the other hand, the wintery season offers tons of ways the house can fail (and you want to know if it’ll fail before you buy it!) There’s snow and TONS of water – which can help find any leaks or potential leaks in the home.

Less daylight, means less time to search with optimal lighting. This might not be a big deal, but it’s definitely something to consider. Depending on the type of person you are, knowing how much (or how little) natural light the home has, might make or break the purchase. During the darker seasons, it’ll be more difficult to tell if you get blasted with sunlight or your home remains dark the majority of the year.

The perks of buying in the off-season.

It’s no secret in the industry that buying during any off-season is a good idea, but why the wintery or holiday season especially? We’ve compiled our best benefits for buying during fall or winter – and when everyone one else is cozy at home!

Less buyer competition. Though Seattle has remained hot, even through this chilly season, tons of buyers have already put their purchase on the backburner until after the holidays. Why? Because this season is known for added shopping excursions, additional gift expenses, and tons of holiday traveling. During the winter, seller gets less overall attention – which might just allow your family to swoop in with a winning offer!

Lower prices. Well, not exactly, but… Since there’s less competition, there’s a less likely chance you’ll be one of a hundred potential offers. And even while Seattle’s market remains strong, we’re already seeing a decrease in recent loan applications and dwindling inventory levels. For homes that have been on the market for a while, you might be able to catch a deal!

You may close in an ideal time. Whether its right on the edge of the New Year or early in January, closing during this time may help you – especially if you’re renting or looking for tax credit/incentive. If you’re renting, you may not want to renew in the new year (and your rates may be set to increase).

Less stress. And more time for holiday cheer. The home-buying process in Seattle isn’t anything if not a stress-filled basket for buyers – but this season may relieve some of that. If you’re able to snatch a house, you’ll know going into the holiday season – an already demanding time of year – knowing you’re perfectly positioned for the upcoming year.

Less inventory. Fewer closed sales. Quicker mortgage closings. Tis the season for quicker mortgages, meaning you may be able to move before the end of the year – and the seller can sell before end of year! Especially if your lease is up (or the seller’s planning a move), this is great news for you! Talk about convenience!

Tricks for best positioning yourself for a home.

Have a flexible schedule. Yourself, your agent, and the homes you’ll be perusing have travel and holiday celebrations going on. Communicate with your agent in advance about the homes you’ll want to look at to ensure they have time to give proper notice (home seller’s require 24+ hours before a showing!)

Don’t be afraid of compromise. Just because it’s the holidays, doesn’t mean you’re going to bet $100K off the list price off the average home – that just wouldn’t be realistic. Especially in the Seattle-area, homes are still selling like hotcakes and you’ll still want to come to the table with a competitive mindset.

Don’t rush into something you don’t love. We won’t lie. Buying (or selling, really) a home is stressful, but that shouldn’t make you afraid of waiting to buy if the home isn’t what you’re looking for. It may take a few months longer, but you’ll be more happy with a home you waited for and LOVE, than a home you hastily purchased and regret.

But, do the perks outweigh the drawbacks? We don’t think so. In fact, we think November, December, and January prove excellent times to start or continue your home search!

Have more tips, tricks and benefits? We’d love to hear them!

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