Looking to buy a home? With Canada currently in a deep freeze, buying a home is probably the last thing on your mind! Most of us wait until the springtime when the nice weather returns, but by doing that you’re competing against all the other homebuyers out there. You could have missed out on those excellent home-buying opportunities. Interest rates are still low, so you might as well take advantage. There’s no guarantee that they’ll stay low in the spring.
5 Reasons To Buy A Home In The Off Season
Without further ado, here are 5 reasons to buy a home in the offseason (aka winter).
1. Fewer Homebuyers
Are you trying to buy in a home in a competitive real estate market? Do you find you’re always coming up on the short end of the stick when you make an offer on a property? I feel your pain. When I was trying to buy a home six years ago, every house that I wanted had 10 or 15 people who were also interested. After losing out on two bidding wars, my real estate agent suggested looking during wintertime.
The biggest benefit of going house hunting during the wintertime is that there are typically less homebuyers to compete against. Instead of facing 10 or 15 homebuyers, you might only be facing two or three (or if you’re really lucky, none), improving your chances of making a successful offer on a property.
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2. Conditional Offers
Besides getting your dream home at a price you can afford, another advantage of fewer homebuyers is that you’re able to better protect yourself as a homebuyer. What I mean by that is that you may be able to include conditions with your offer.
Normally, during the peak season of the real estate market (i.e. the springtime), if you’re serious about getting a home, you’ll typically include fewer conditions or in some cases do a subject-free offer (an offer without any conditions). However, since you’re most likely up against less competition during winter, you have the opportunity to include conditions when you otherwise wouldn’t be able to.
Popular conditions include condition of financing, home inspection and appraisal. By including these conditions, if there are any hiccups along the way (i.e. water issues or asbestos), you have an out as a buyer.
3. Motivated Seller
If someone’s selling their home during the winter, it’s probably not because they want to be. If they could choose a time to sell, it’d probably be during the spring housing market. Chances are they’re selling their house because they have to, not because they want to.
A motivated seller is someone who really wants to sell their home. There are many reasons someone might be a motivated seller, including job loss, job promotion, divorce, death of the breadwinner, etc.
When I purchased my home, I lucked out because I was dealing with a motivated seller. The previous owner of my house had moved to Alberta. He obviously didn’t want to own a home in Toronto anymore. The grass in the backyard was two feet tall (no joke). When I offered him above asking and said I was good with a closing in 30 days, it didn’t take long for him to say yes. I got a great deal on the house and he got rid of a property he no longer wanted to look after. It was a win-win situation.
When you’re looking to buy a home, try to figure out why someone is selling. Then you can customize your offer to appeal to the seller. Who knows? You might luck out like me and find you’re dealing with a motivated seller.
4. Seeing the True Condition of a Home
Winter is the toughest season of the year. If you want to see how well a home handles snow and subzero temperatures, there’s no better time than winter. If there are any issues with the home, they’re more than likely to show up during winter. For example, you’ll be sure to notice windows that need replacing and poor insulation on the coldest days of the year. A house that can make it through the coldest days of the year is one that’s built to last and one you’d probably like to call home.
5. Getting Your Real Estate Agent’s Undivided Attention
More than likely you’re not your real estate agent’s only client. If your agent is successful, they’re probably juggling dozens of clients looking to buy and sell homes. During the springtime, it can be tough to go out and look at homes more than once or twice a week with your agent. This can be frustrating, as you might miss out on your dream home because your agent is too busy.
Winter is the perfect time to sit down with your real estate agent and discuss your home-buying needs and wants and focus in on homes that best meet your needs. Although there are usually fewer properties on the market, your agent should have more time to view homes, helping improve your chances of finding one that you like.
The offseason is the perfect time to check out the new Borrowell Mortgage Coach to find the best mortgage for you based on your unique credit profile. Start by checking your free credit score with Borrowell.
About the Author
Sean Cooper is the bestselling author of the book, Burn Your Mortgage: The Simple, Powerful Path to Financial Freedom for Canadians. He bought his first house when he was only 27 in Toronto and paid off his mortgage in just 3 years by age 30. Sean’s helping others burn their mortgage, too, as an independent mortgage broker.