Like Susan in the old move Miracle on 34th Street when buying a home during the holidays you need to “Believe”
As homebuyers deck the halls it would be a mistake to give up on home shopping for the winter. If they are thinking of waiting to buy a new home when the weather warms up they could miss getting a great deal on the home of their dreams.
Most people don’t realize that winter actually can be a great time to buy, even in Michigan where the beautiful landscaping is covered with snow. Winter can be a buyer’s market, with less competition for newly listed homes. That could mean fewer multiple-offer situations. Plus, sellers who keep their homes on the market during the winter are often more motivated and willing to make a deal.
Sellers in the winter are normally not testing the market like some do in the peak selling season of spring.
Not only will buyers find less competition and more motivated sellers, they can feel how well insulated a home is and how well the heating system works – important factors in colder climates.
A house that’s properly insulated will not have icicles hanging from the gutters. you get a good sense of the home and how it performs during the winter.
Their challenges of searching for a home in winter can be;
Michigan requires a certain level of seller disclosures to give the buyer an idea of the age and condition of elements such as the furnace and the roof. But you can also ask specific questions and request building permits or receipts to show, for example, when the roof was last replaced.
6 Steps to buying a home this winter:
Be flexible. Home Sellers can be busy around the holidays, so even the most motivated sellers may not be able to show a home on the spur of the moment.
Search for other pictures of the home in the summer. Ask the sellers if they have photos showing the backyard, patio, pool, flower beds and other elements that don’t look good in winter. Search Google maps for summer pictures of the front of the home along with what the neighborhood is like in the summer.
Document everything. When was the roof last replaced? When was the septic tank serviced last? Ask for receipts or copies of building permits for any major repairs.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate. When a home sits on the market past the fall, sellers could be ready to accept a lower offer, especially in higher priced homes. Have your agent find out how motivated the seller is before you make an offer.
Keep looking and don’t get discouraged. With fewer homes for sale in winter, homebuyers may not find their dream home at first.
Expect the home transaction to be faster than normal. The mortgage process is typically faster in the winter because of the lower volume. The borrower should be sure to keep their schedule flexible enough to adapt to requirements of the mortgage process and quickly respond to any document requests.
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