More Motivated Sellers
Most sellers list a house in spring or summer when real estate season is at its peak. If their home is on the market in fall or winter, however, chances are the sellers will be eager to close. They may be contending with a major life change, or perhaps the home simply didn’t find a buyer during peak season. In any case, the owners may be very open to making a deal—and that’s a great reason to buy when demand is low.
More Time to Think
Bidding wars require fast action—but with fewer buyers looking, you’re less like to find yourself competing for a property. Take full advantage of the slower pace to do more comparison shopping and to mull your decision more carefully.
More Favorable Rates
Mortgage brokers and bankers have business lulls and holiday bills too—and they may be willing to cut a slightly better deal in order to get the deal done. Shop around and don’t be afraid to negotiate on interest, points, or down payments. There may be room to nudge the numbers in your favor.
More Interesting Weather
Every home looks its best on a gorgeous sunny day in May, but how will it seem when the gray months roll around? Whether it’s a rain-soaked November day or a freezing January one, the off-season will afford a clearer picture of how the house holds up under inclement conditions and how the interiors feel on gloomy days. (Of course, this may not apply if you’re looking in a place with a temperate climate year-round).
More Attention From Agents
The months from September to February are the slowest time of year for real-estate agents, and they’ll be a lot hungrier for your business. To keep your business in the slow season, they're more likely to go the extra mile in terms of searching for the right homes and helping you nail the best deal.
More Flexibility on Moving Dates
When you’re not in a heated contest against other buyers, you gain power in all kinds of areas—so if you need an earlier or later closing date, go ahead and ask. You may have the leverage to get the seller to adjust their move-out date to better fit your schedule.
More Revealing Views
Landscaping, with all its lovely flowers and leafy trees, is like makeup for a home—and it can camouflage a lot of flaws. When the leaves have dropped and the blooms have faded, the real story emerges: peeling exterior paint jobs, worn areas in the roof, foundation cracks, and other issues with the home’s exterior will be plain as day.
More Action in the Neighborhood
When school lets out for the summer, many neighbors may head out on vacation, leaving the neighborhoods feeling a bit empty. Starting in September, life kicks into gear again—so it’s a great time to visit the neighborhood school, and get a more accurate picture of the workaday atmosphere on the block.
More Handy Types Available
If you buy and move during the off-season, you’ll have terrific bargaining power with folks who can provide the services you’ll need. It’s the sleepy season for movers, house painters, and contractors, so you’re apt to get faster response times, more attention, and better prices.
More Bargains for Your New House
What’s the first thing you do when moving into a new home? Shop! You’ll need everything from a new fridge to a new rug—and, if you’re moving into your home during the holidays or later in the winter, you’ll benefit from all those seasonal specials and post-holiday sales.
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