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Buying a new home this winter

Date posted:  2/28/17 01:30:00 PM Buying a home in the winter has its perks.

If you're thinking about buying a house, investing in property during the winter months might be a good idea. While the spring and summer months are typically more popular times of the year to search for a new home, there are several advantages to house hunting when the weather is colder.

Less competition

One of the biggest advantages of looking for a house during the winter months is that there are fewer interested buyers looking for a home of their own. In addition, inventory is much lower than during the spring and summer months, noted Realtor.com, which reduces the number of homes you need to tour. You can focus your hunt on fewer available listings and won't feel as overwhelmed with options.

In addition, you will have more leverage when it's time to negotiate a final selling price because demand is low.

Get to know the neighbors

When the weather is unwelcoming, and snow is piling up on sidewalks and driveways, you can get a pretty decent idea as to who is committed to keeping their home neat and tidy. If you tour potential homes during the winter, take note of the neighbors' shoveling habits. If it looks like driveways are freshly cleared, and sidewalks are walkable, you'll feel confident that the community is dedicated to safety.

Understand energy costs

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the winter season is also the largest seasonal peak for natural gas needs. House hunting during the winter provides you with a more accurate representation of your energy costs during this time of year. Not only can you ask for a more concrete price, but you can gain a better idea how difficult or easy it will be to keep the home warm. You can also check if new windows or additional insulation might be necessary to increase comfort levels inside the home.

Realtor.com also noted that it's important to assess how well the current heating system works and whether the hot water is sufficient. Ensure you take note of this and ask questions while touring different available homes.

More time to evaluate

A home is a substantial investment. You don't want to rush your decision just because properties aren't staying on the market very long. Fox Business also noted that more competition may force you to increase your budget. Shopping for a home in winter, though, can give you some wiggle room for decision-making.

"Homebuyers can take their time when they're looking for a home because there's less people in the market and there aren't as many bidding wars," said Lisa Foradori, Head of Consumer Direct for Mortgage Originations at Chase, according to Fox Business.

Sellers take you seriously

Bundling up and heading out in the cold takes motivation. If you're touring a home when temperatures dip, you're letting sellers know that you are a serious buyer.

"You can leverage colder weather to your advantage because you're a rarity - there's less competition and buyers, which gives you negotiating power and puts you in the driver's seat," noted Cara Ameer, broker associate and Realtor at Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty, noted Fox Business. "A seller knows that someone who drives through the snow and cold weather to see their house is a pretty serious buyer."

When you have more negotiating power, you'll likely score a better deal on a home - especially if the seller is trying to close on a deal quickly.

Furniture shopping loses appeal

The Simple Dollar suggests that you avoid shopping for furniture as soon as you move into a new home. It's easy to get excited and go on a shopping spree. However, overspending so soon after buying a home can crush any potential budget you set.

When the weather is beautiful and sunny, you might be more tempted to head to the store. Freezing temperatures and blistering winds might discourage you from spending a ton of money before establishing a clear home furnishing budget.

Working with a full-time agent

Another benefit to investing in a home during the winter is that you are more likely to work with a full-time agent who has more experience in the housing market. The Chris McCorkell Real Estate Team, an industry blog, indicated that part-time agents are less likely to be working in winter, while full-time real estate professionals are committed to working all year long.

Investing in a home is an especially exciting milestone, and searching during the winter months can help you get the best deal on the right home. Discuss this option with your real estate agent to determine if it's the right decision for you.