Changing Seasons: 5 Insights into Off-Season House Hunting

(August 25, 2015 )

Traditional real estate wisdom has often advised buyers and sellers that once Fall comes around, they might as well pack it in and wait until the Spring to either put their house on the market or start looking. As the days grow shorter and we start to wear sweaters and rain gear in the Sea to Sky Corridor, there are some benefits to taking the opposing approach and getting into the house hunt.

1. Lower the competition.

Typically, real estate experts say that the summer months are the hottest real estate months of the year. Families with children prefer to move into their new homes before September and the bad weather and holiday festivities keep house hunting to a minimum during the winter.If you start your house hunt right now, you’ll face fewer competitors. And that means fewer multiple offers and a lower likelihood of being outbid.

2.  Motivated sellers.

The sellers who are willing to clear the whole family out of the house when everyone else is getting settled in for winter and having holiday gatherings are motivated to get their homes sold.Even some banks and mortgage brokers handling sales may have above-average motivation to move properties off their books and get transactions closed before the year end. 

3.  Can’t miss properties that won’t wait.

The “off-season” is when fewer new listings come on the market. Having said that, this is a great time to spot hidden gems.There are sellers who have unique homes, but have been holding off on listing all year for some reason or another. They end up listing at just the time that works for their lives. If you’re a picky buyer, putting off your house hunt at the same time other shoppers take a break….puts you at the serious risk of missing “the one.”

4. Problems can become crystal clear.

Buyers rely on inspections and disclosures to surface the hidden defects and property issues. Off-season house hunters have the unique advantage of being able to see the roof, drainage systems, slopes and basements of a property performing under the precise weather conditions – rain, snow, and wind – that often cause surprises to spring and summer home buyers.If ‘your’ target property has a roof leak, you’ll know it.

5. Remember: The normal rules apply

The off-season is a great time to buy, but don’t expect to score a mansion for pennies. Talk to your agent for real advice on what to expect. You may find you’ll get you more consideration, responsiveness, speed, and maybe a better deal than shopping any other time of year.