Many homebuyers with families usually shop for homes in the spring and summer hoping to be moved into their new home before school starts in the fall. The winter season from Thanksgiving until mid-February is usually a slow season for home buying and selling in many parts of the country.

Even home and condominium sales in warmer resort areas such as Florida or Arizona are often completed before the start of the winter season.

Winter is a good time to shop for a home from a motivated seller. Homes that did not sell during late summer and fall may be available at lower prices. Some homes do come on the market at the beginning of the year and you can be the first buyer to make an offer. The buying market is less competitive.

Realtors are not as busy during December and January so they may have more time to spend with a serious potential buyer. Winter is the best time to determine how well a home functions during cold weather in many areas.

  • Learn everything about the heating system in a home that interest you.
  • Also check the roofing, plumbing and insulation.
  • Examine rain gutters and basements.
  • Ask the seller about winter utility costs.

Curb appeal is more difficult in winter in many areas. Trees are bare, shrubs and flowers are not blooming in cold weather regions. There may be snow on the ground but this can also make a home look warm and inviting in winter.

Home exteriors in warmer areas such as the southwest or Gulf Coast may show well during the winter season.

Mortgages

Mortgage rates may be lower during the winter months. Fewer people are applying for loans and you may be able to close escrow faster. This is also the best time to ask the seller for an extended warranty to cover a leaking roof or older heating system.

House-hunting during the winter takes more patience, especially in cold, snowy regions. Many real estate agents don't want to drive through the snow and ice to show a home. You may not find any open house weekends during the winter.

But the good deals are out there during the winter months for home buyers who want to find the right home at a good price.