Buying a Home During the Off-Season

By Michelle D. Formica, Manager, Marketing Services, The Long & Foster Companies.

Dec 201707

Buying a Home During the Off-Season

By Michelle D. Formica, Manager, Marketing Services, The Long & Foster Companies.

Are you in the market to buy a new home? Why wait until spring? Whether you are moving locally or across the country, you just might benefit from buying during winter—a time that can be considered the off-season in real estate. Here is some insight from a few Long & Foster agents and managers.

Avoid the competition. Multiple offers are not as prevalent during the winter months, explains Susan Cullen, a real estate agent in Long & Foster’s Strawberry Street office in Richmond, Virginia. There are typically fewer potential buyers, decreasing the likelihood of a bidding war and giving you a better shot at winning your offer.

“While the market never stops, it does in fact have reduced activity between November and January,” said Todd Delahanty, an agent in Long & Foster’s Arlington, Virginia, office.

Benefit from greater bargaining power. Whether their property has been on the market for an extended period of time or because the holidays are fast approaching, sellers tend to be more anxious to sell their home in the winter. As a result, they are frequently more willing to reduce the price, suggests Dave King, a manager in Long & Foster’s Leesburg, Virginia, office. No matter the season, lean on your real estate agent to help you decide on an offer price.  If you’re not in competition, you have more room to make an offer less than the asking price, adds Lisa Leven-Kahn, a real estate agent in Long & Foster’s Haverford, Pennsylvania, office

“We usually discourage our buyers from adding a contingency upon the sale of their current home, yet in the off-season, it might make sense,” explains Selina Delahanty, an agent in Long & Foster’s Arlington, Virginia, office. This prevents the buyer from being stuck with two homes, and the seller will be more likely to agree if you’re their only offer.

Be flexible and have realistic expectations. With any real estate transaction, this stands true, but it is especially important during the winter months. From obstacles, such as the holidays to less daylight hours due to Daylight Saving Time, there will be more restrictions on when your real estate agent can show you the home.

While the inventory of homes for sale generally decreases during the off-season, you can avoid the frenzy that often occurs during the spring and summer markets.

Keep in mind that yards are not typically tended to, and it may appear gloomy and dark in the winter. Ask to see pictures of the property year round, so you can see the home in its best light. “Just think, if you love the house in the winter, you’ll really love it in the spring,” said King.

If you are considering buying a home this winter, contact your local real estate agent for specific market data in your area. From contract to closing, they will be able to help you throughout the entire buying transaction.

“Buyers buy no matter the season,” said Leven-Kahn.

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