“Honey, let’s bundle the kids up and go look at houses in this cold, wet, miserable weather. It will be fun,” said no one. The winter months see a slow down in the number of new listings and the number of active buyers. But, those that come to market and continue to look at homes are doing it for a reason.
Buyers are looking for a reason. There is a myriad of possibilities as to why but enjoying taking your shoes off in a house that has the heating turned off after tromping through a mountain of wet leaves in rapidly fading daylight isn’t one of them. For all intensive purposes showing have to end before five o’clock because viewing homes in the dark is somewhat pointless- you can’t see the exterior.
Another advantage of buying in winter is that you typically get a true understanding of where water is versus where it might be in summer. It doesn’t mean a lot if the basement is dry when it hasn’t rained more than a trace in 90 days but if we’ve just experienced record rains and the basement is dry, that’s a pretty good sign.
For the seller, much of the benefit lies in the above. You’re less likely to have to make accommodations for a dinner-time showings. The showings you have should have serious buyers.
In the spring, we expect the yard to be in showroom condition. In the winter, that expectation lessens.
The downside of listing in the winter is that holiday planning and decorating may be interrupted. There’s nothing like having a holiday cookie production line in progress when you get the request to show your home in an hour. The buyer’s agent is likely to be understanding but your house might get skipped over. If your house is anything like ours, someone in your household may think someone else in the household goes a little overboard with the decorations… that means it is likely a buyer may too (bah humbug).
No matter how carefully everyone removes their shoes and puts on the booties, stuff is going to get trekked into the house or it is going to blow in.