Why Buy A Charlottesville Home in Fall/Winter?
In a place where spring is one of the most beautiful seasons of all, it makes sense that our Charlottesville real estate market is also incredibly busy during that time – with homes often selling within hours or days of coming on the market after fielding several contracts at a time.
In spring, people who have been cooped up over the winter are ready to get out and sample the sunshine. And for many, a potential address change at that time fits nicely with the school calendar.
While the spring and summer months are seen as the most popular times to look for a new home, house hunters willing to brave the cold might be rewarded with a great deal even if there are fewer houses to choose from, because there are also fewer Buyers around.
Fall/Winter is a time when Sellers are at an advantage because they know that someone who braves the weather to come see their house is a pretty serious Buyer. They are buying with a purpose – whether they’re getting divorced or just realized they’re adding to their family or they’re getting a job transfer. There’s a reason for that move.
Lenders are also getting in on the season because rates are remaining low and they are anxious for the business before rates start to go up again.
For Buyers, if you decide to look during the fall and winter months, here are some things to consider:
Fewer Bidding Wars
Open houses during the fall/winter aren’t as well attended as compared to the spring, when there’s more inventory. The benefit is that Buyers will have some breathing room — hot markets known for bidding wars and multiple offers tend to cool down in the colder months.
Less Housing Supply
The weather can make getting a home ready for showings cumbersome for a Seller, especially if they have to shovel snow or make sure their roof is clear when it comes to home inspections. Many Sellers prefer to wait until the holidays are over before they decide to come on the market again.
Sellers that open their doors to showings during the holiday season and cold-weather months want their homes to sell. A Buyer may very well benefit from a lower price because the Seller doesn’t want to continue paying for the expense of keeping the house warm and maintained, especially if it’s vacant.
Quicker Mortgage Closings
Lenders have less inventory in the winter, because there are fewer people buying and selling, and so a loan can be moved through the process faster.
End of Year Tax Benefit
If you close on a new home before December 31, you can apply the purchase of your home towards deductions for that year, otherwise you’ll have to wait a full fiscal year to reap any tax benefits from your purchase.
Cheaper Moving Costs
Securing time and negotiating with vendors, movers and contractors may be easier in the wintertime. As these companies aren’t as busy during the winter, they may be open to negotiating their prices.
Fall/Winter is the best time to see how a home reacts during extreme weather, and how the systems like heating and plumbing, the roof, doors, windows, and insulation are being tested. You can schedule your inspection during a time when you can see the house’s problems.
Mid-Year School Change
People don’t always want their child to change schools midyear for continuity reasons, but this can work in your favor. Depending on your child, a midyear move could give them an opportunity to get acclimated to a new environment before summertime.
Shorter Daylight Hours
Getting a sense of the exterior condition can be a challenge when it’s dark outside by 4 p.m. If you buy a home, you may not know what the landscaping actually looks like and if the grass needs to be resodded or the condition of the bushes until all the snow has melted in the spring.
What About Building a Home?
Many people think they can’t build in winter, in a colder climate. While you can’t pour flat concrete – like a driveway – until it gets warm, you can pour a basement floor because it can be tented and you can suspend heaters in the basement.
Starting to build in winter can be advantageous, because the biggest detriment to (speedier) construction is rain. Many builders can work in snow, but heavy rain stops them regardless of the time of year. And many in the Charlottesville know how unpredictable the rain patterns can be around here.
Many local builders are quite busy right now, with new construction starting in the fall with a March to April or May delivery date, just in time to pour the driveway.