When it comes to buying a house, conventional wisdom would have us believe spring and summer are the prime purchasing months. The sun is shining, gardens are in bloom and “For Sale” signs start to pop up on front lawns… but perhaps we’re missing out on the best season of them all.
Published November 16, 2018, Updated January 2, 2023.
When the temperature drops, so too do listing prices, making it the perfect time to snag a real estate deal. People are less enthused about packing up all their worldly possessions in subzero temperatures. With fewer offers coming in, wintertime sellers are more willing to reduce listing prices to try and close as quickly as possible.
Stomp out the Competition
With the competitive real estate markets in Canada’s urban centres, bidding wars have become part and parcel of purchasing a property. But with fewer potential buyers stomping the icy pavement during the winter months, there’s less competition in bidding. You have more time to consider your offer without the hordes of similarly situated people vying for the same property.
Since real estate fetches the highest prices in early summer, if a seller is listing during winter, they’re clearly motivated to move. It could be they got a job offer in another city or inherited the property and don’t want to maintain it. This translates into a higher willingness to talk terms – closing costs, selling prices and the closing date are all open for negotiation.
Knock out the Competition
Since many sellers will hold off until spring to list their property, the inventory during the darker months will be lower. And while that means there will be fewer property options, it is possible to find what you’re looking for – with less competition. Check out these things you need to know before you buy a piece of land.
With fewer listings and sales happening over the winter months, you’ll have the undivided attention of your real estate agent. For agents, spring can be hectic, so take advantage of their seasonal slump to prioritize your house hunt. Be sure to hire a real estate agent using these marketing techniques.
Not Through Rose-Coloured Glasses
Sales spike in the spring and summer because homes look their best in warm sunlight rather than under a sheet of ice. Wintertime is when problems start to show – leaky roofs, busted gutters or broken boilers make their presence known. Seeing a home at its worst will help you negotiate a better price and give you an idea of what to expect. Find out how to fix a leaky faucet (and 10 more quick home repairs).
Roll the Dice
Everyone wants the best mortgage rate possible, so buying before they can go up could be smart. They might not increase, of course, but it’s a risk waiting until the new year. Talk to a mortgage broker about the financial climate now, so you’re not stuck paying more for your mortgage later. Skip the frantic selling frenzy and bidding wars of spring and go out and get those deals in the dead of winter. With fewer properties and buyers, let the low supply and demand work in your favour and find your forever home.