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Is Winter a Good Time to Buy a House?

Almost as soon as the crocuses start to stick their heads out from under their blanket of snow, For Sale signs begin to pop up around Calgary. Springtime is traditionally the start of the busiest time of the year for home sales but if you’re willing to brave the snow and cold, winter can actually be the best time of the year to buy a house.

Whether out of necessity or grim determination, some people list their house during a traditionally very slow time of the year for house sales. During the winter, even though there are fewer house listings, supply still far exceeds the demand. Prices are at their lowest in December and anyone who maintains their listing over the holiday season is clearly serious about selling their house.

Here are some reasons why it makes a lot of sense to buy a house during the winter:

  • You are competing with fewer buyers. Most people are much more motivated to house hunt when the weather is nice.
  • The spring buying and selling frenzy is months away and because of lower demand for real estate, good deals can be found everywhere.
  • Slow sales mean that most sellers are more motivated and are willing to negotiate to clinch a deal.
  • There is much less chance that multiple offers will come in on a house. Bidding wars can be avoided and buyers are definitely in the driver’s seat.
  • Because there are fewer home buyers during the winter, you are more likely to have your agent’s undivided attention. They’ll work hard for you during a slow season.

Believe it or not, Christmas Day can actually be the best day of the year to buy a house. People are full of good cheer, are feeling particularly generous, and out of goodwill might just be willing to accept an offer that they might not otherwise consider. The caveat is you have to find a realtor who is willing to work on Christmas day and has the moxie to disrupt someone’s Christmas celebrations to close a deal.

While winter is not a great time to sell a house, it can be a great time to buy the house of your dreams, and save you a lot of money.

By Patrick Murray