Buying a home in the height of the winter is not always ideal - battling and dealing with snow, ice, cold weather and early, dark evenings, to name just a few of the less desirable aspects. But there are some advantages to it too.Here are some of my thoughts on the pros and cons to winter home buying (and I'll say it right now, but you probably already know, I'd love to hear your thoughts too):
- There are no leaves on the trees, and so you get to see your potential new home without any camouflage. As you know, leaves and foliage can hide unappealing views and reduce the noises of busy roads, and without them as a shield, you get a sense of the true reality of the property.
- The natural, outdoor light of the winter months is flat and at its least vibrant. And so similar to the point above, you are seeing the property in its truest, and arguably least desirable, state. But in my opinion, that's honestly the best way to enter into a home purchase - seeing the property in its naked and most real form.
- You generally won't face as much competition from other buyers, meaning that it is less likely that you will get into a bid war, which works to your advantage. Furthermore if the house has been on the market for quite some time, and if the seller is anxious to sell therefore, it might be that you get a better price too. Win-win.
- It's hard to get a true sense of the land if it is covered with snow.... And if you view the property and then buy it in this state, you won't actually know what the land looks like until the snow melts, which can take months. This is obviously less than ideal.
- Given the snow, you also may not get an accurate assessment of the location if the weather is yucky and traffic is lighter than usual. In fact, I have friends who were relocating to Weston, MA (before I was in the business and knew them), who ended up buying a house on Route 117 without knowing the extent of its road traffic because they visited just after a snow storm, and it was "a road less traveled" as the expression goes.
- You have to make the showings early in the day as the sun sets as early as 4:15 p.m. in late December. This can be problematic for those with full-time jobs.
- The inventory is at its lowest in December and January, and so you won't have as many home buying options from which to choose.
- And should we even broach the subject of moving into a new home in a snow and ice storm?! Yikes....
Interestingly, many of the pros and cons of winter home buying have to do with knowing what you are buying. Without the leaves on the trees and with a flatter, natural light, you have a truer sense of the property. Basically you are seeing your potential new home in its worst state, which allows you the opportunity to enter into the home purchase with your eyes wide open. This is good.
On the other hand, winter usually produces snow that stays on the ground for several, consecutive months in our neck of the woods. And a snow-covered property, by its inherent nature, can thus conceal land or location issues. This is not good and is in complete contrast to what I just laid out above as a pro to winter home buying. So in essence, winter can both expose and conceal the true essence of a property, and it can offer pros and cons to home buying at the exact same time. Hmmm....
What are your thoughts on winter home buying? Have you ever bought a house in the winter? If so, what were some of the pros and cons that you encountered? And did the pros outweigh the cons or vice versa? I can't wait to hear....
For more information on this or on the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (781-267-2844 or www.homesalesbylisa.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.