Spring and summer may be the traditional time for buying and selling a home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a new home or investment property in the fall or winter. Sometimes it takes a little extra determination and patience, but there are plenty of terrific homes looking for new owners looking to find a home in winter – even after the holidays.
Chasing the Market
The housing market recovery has been a difficult one for many buyers, especially in big cities. While many sellers took advantage of the peak selling season, April – June, many of those homes were bought by cash-heavy investors who were able to take advantage of lower home prices and historically low interest rates. While first-time homebuyers were not able to compete with cash offers from investors during the spring, the winter is a good time to look for sellers who are now ready to sell their homes before the peak rush in spring.
One downside of chasing the slower winter market is that many individual mortgage professionals and real estate agents often take time off around the holidays – just like you – so it can be slightly more difficult to get a hold of your agent. To avoid this problem, choose a larger mortgage lender like New American Funding and ask your real estate agent to inform you of their plans so you’re never caught in a bind when trying to put an offer on a home.
Sellers Who Need to Sell
No one really wants to move out of their home during winter, so the homes that are for sale during the off-season typically have motivated sellers. Although sellers may be more motivated during off months, REALTOR.com says that 45 percent of winter home buyers say they could not find inventory in their price range. So while there may be homes available, buyers may have to look for mid-range homes or be prepared to put down extra cash to outbid buyers looking for spring-time deals in the winter.
Make Sure to Get a Good Inspection
Harsh winter weather has a big effect on the housing market. We know that it can keep sellers indoors and can make buyers rethink their decision, but buyers should also be wary of what winter weather can hide when they’re shopping online or on the curb. Many sellers will often use photographs taken in spring or summer for their listings, but more importantly snow can hide a lot of problems in any house.
If you put an offer on a house, make sure to set a home inspection as a condition on the deal.
Steady Home Loans
Home loans may cost a bit more than they did last winter, but they are currently lower than they were last summer. Long-term interest rates should still be incredibly attractive to first-time homebuyers and more, especially since they are only likely to increase as the economy and housing markets recover. Buyers may see higher fees than they have previously, especially for buyers with smaller down payments, but rates are likely to be higher once peak home-buying season rolls around in the spring.
Jump the Gun
There are always homes that are being prepared to go on the market but have not been listed yet. Some real estate agents will know of homes that will go on sale during the spring, that would be ready for the right buyer.
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Mike Cushing is a freelance writer for New American Funding, a Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae Direct Seller/Servicer, FHA Direct Endorsement , and VA Automatic mortgage banker offering a variety of home loan options, including home improvement loans, first-time homebuyer programs, Fixed Rate Mortgages, investment property loans, Jumbo Loans, and VA Loans.