Home Connection: Winter is a good time to buy

Q:

A: Elizabeth Weintraub, an author and highly experienced REALTOR suggests that one day each year buyers have an unexpected edge in the housing market.

Here in Colorado we tend to think of spring as the start of the home buying season, except in our mountain resort areas where our winter playground attracts strong interest and many new owners.  As the snow melts and temperatures rise in most other areas, For Sale signs begin to appear along with tulips and other early blooms.

Many more home buyers come to the market as the weather improves.  For some, driving and sloshing through snow and slush searching for a home in winter is just not a pleasant thing to do.  Many buyers will postpone their search until the spring, preferring to make a move in better weather, when school is out or during their summer vacation days.

Realtors will tell you that there is typically nothing like a spring real estate market.  Inventory goes up as more people get ready to sell and offers come in much more frequently.  Advertising of homes increases in the spring and continues through the summer months.  Though each local real estate market is unique, in general there are more homes available in the spring than any other time of year.

But if spring is a great time for sellers, with lots of energetic buyers anxious to find that new home and close quickly, is it also a great time for buyers?

According to Weintraub, the best day of the year to buy a home is, surprise, Christmas Day!  While almost no one will take time on Christmas Day to go look at a home, if you already know which house you want to make an offer on, then Christmas Day may be your smartest move.  Why?  A combination of factors make that day attractive.

First, home prices have historically been at their lowest points in December and if someone has a home on the market over Christmas they’re definitely interested in getting it sold soon and may be more flexible on their asking price.  Second, the mood of the season may lead to more generous thinking on the part of sellers.  “You know, it’s Christmas and we would love to have a wonderful family like yours buy our house.  So let’s make a deal.”

Whatever time of year you decide to sell or buy a home, keep in mind that this will likely be one of the largest financial and legal transactions you will ever undertake.  State and federal regulations, mortgages, taxes, appraisals, inspections and all of the other parts of a real estate transaction make for lots of complex documents to be carefully reviewed and understood.  It is always advisable to engage a professional Realtor to help you protect your interests in this important step in your life.

(This article was provided by the Colorado Association of REALTORS®.)

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