While most sellers list their properties on the market in the spring and summer months due to the higher volume of potential buyers, those cold winter months are not to be neglected by those raring to move house. Winter is a season ripe with a great number of opportunities for buyers, such as quicker sales and lower asking prices. In this post, we endeavour to outline these reasons in detail so that you can appreciate the often overlooked benefits of buying outside of those warmer periods where the housing market is a little more busy.
The winter season is a notably quiet time for the housing market: fewer people are selling their homes due to a smaller demand and fewer homes are on offer to buyers due to lack of supply. Other seasons are more popular with sellers, but increased demand also makes it more difficult for buyers to pin down offers and win bidding wars.
Smaller demand means much less competition for buyers and a higher chance of making viable offers. In short, to attain a house in the winter season, you should not have to fight for it as much as you would in the spring and summer seasons.
Sellers will be more keen to sell
A natural consequence of this lack of buyers is that sellers will be more keen to sell their properties on during the winter. As opposed to the summer where demand is a lot higher and sellers can afford to be more strict on their pricing and terms, the winter has sellers raring to sell their property by whatever means and swiftly move out before the new year.
Plus, most sellers are already aware that the season requires compromises on the speed and efficiency of the sale. This not only guarantees enthusiastic buyers a quicker buying process overall, but also better chances of negotiating a great deal on the property. As such, in the winter, sellers are more likely to be flexible on factors such as closing date, asking price, and terms of sale.
See how the house fares in harsh conditions
When viewing a house in the winter months you immediately know whether or not it is appropriately winter-proofed. Almost all the houses you view during the summer will be pleasant enough due to the bright weather and hot temperatures, but winter is a lot less generous.
Therefore, if a property fares well during the coldest and most unflattering time of year you know that it will perform well all year round. Whereas when you buy in summer you could receive some nasty surprises when the winter rolls around, such as lack of insulation, mould and damp, insufficient heating or ventilation, and so on. The property should be designed and maintained such that it can withstand these harsher conditions, and viewing it in the dead of winter allows you to look out for these at an early stage.
Agents and lenders have more time
As Christmas approaches and families begin to settle for the year, business naturally slows down for estate agents and mortgage lenders. This allows them to give potential buyers more of their time and commitment throughout the buying process, as there are fewer clients to deal with on a daily basis. In busier months, it can be more difficult to get a hold of those who can facilitate your purchase and make it easier. But in the winter they will be able to give you their undivided attention, allowing you to attain a quicker sale with much less effort.
Most sellers list their properties on the market when there are more buyers, so the lack of demand from buyers during the winter months usually leads to fewer properties on the market. While some buyers would consider this a major disadvantage, a smaller selection of properties will be more manageable for those who find themselves overwhelmed by the market in the summer. Being more in control of the buying process means less stress for you and your family.
On the other hand, if the winter housing market is too lacking for your tastes then there’s no need to make a snap decision and buy for the sake of it. Just bide your time and your dream home will eventually appear.
If you’re currently looking to purchase a new property, take a quick look at the sales we currently have available throughout South West London.