Buying a home in the winter has some solid advantages. For example, sellers are more serious this time of year and often the house is priced to move. In summer months however, sellers can expect a lot more buyers (and potential offers!) coming through their doors. In winter you’ll find more committed buyers out and about braving the cold weather and snow to view a property; it’s not just a fun thing to do on a Saturday as it is on a nice June day. With less competition, winter can be an opportune time for serious buyers to find their dream home without having to make a panic decision or contend with bidding wars as can be expected in peak summer months.
However, there are a few extra considerations when buying a home in winter to be aware of. We’ve listed the top five so you can tour those winter listings with more confidence:
1. The home inspection
A home inspection is always a recommended practice any time of year, including the winter. A good home inspector knows what to be on the lookout for when it comes to flaws or issues with the home, such as water damage, mold, mildew, foundation cracks, pests and so on. In winter, the roof, decks, outdoor stairs and foundation may be covered in snow, but your home inspection can still reveal clues and concerns if they exist. Don’t skip this important step!
2. Air flow and smells
In summer, sellers will often open their windows to let that fresh breeze blow in. In winter however, our homes are sealed up tight, which means scents and smells may be too. When touring the house, be sure to set your ‘spidey senses’ to max and sniff away for any unpleasant smells. It’s also a good time to check windows and doors for drafts, as that can mean expensive heating (and summer cooling) costs in addition to needing new insulation installed.
3. Be prepared
Don’t assume that winter is a quiet season for all Realtors®, home inspectors, lenders and real estate lawyers and as a result, leave your preparation and planning to the last minute. It’s still as important as ever to get your finances and/or pre-approval arranged, as well as search for the perfect Realtor® and other industry professionals who are a great match. Winter is also a popular time for sunny getaways, so be sure you know who might be away on vacation and when.
4. Ask questions
Don’t forget to ask to see photos of the exterior and yard in summer if possible, as it will likely be covered in snow when you visit. You may be surprised to find large gardens or flower beds you may or may not know how to manage, or perhaps the back yard is paved over or covered in patio stones. Also, be sure to ask about anything you can’t see for yourself in winter such as where hoses are located, exterior electrical outlets, and so on.
5. What to wear
You’ll likely be asked to remove your winter boots when viewing a listing, so be sure to bring a pair of extra shoes or slippers if you don’t want to walk around in your socks. You’ll likely want to hang up your coat or set it aside to give you room to comfortably move around and climb stairs for example.
Whether you’re buying or selling this winter in Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, Blue Mountain, Grey Highlands or Meaford, be sure to connect with Clairwood Real Estate at 705-445-7085. Our experienced, warm and friendly Realtors® are happy to help you navigate the process in any season, and we sure know how to get around in the snow!