Here is a piece of conventional wisdom about real estate: It is slow in the winter. The holidays are busy. People are preoccupied with other things. No one is thinking about real estate.
Not so fast.
The stats tell a different story. If we look at the winter months of late December thru late March, it is not uncommon for 20% of the yearly sales to occur during this season versus the spring, summer and fall periods.
The supposed winter lull in real estate activity turns out to be more myth than reality. The truth is that each season of the year offers both opportunities and challenges. There is no perfect time to buy or sell and there is no time that is horrible either.
All of this is good news if you need to sell or buy a home in the next three months. You can be successful at wrapping up a winter real estate deal.
Let’s think about the situation for buyers first. While there are a lot of closings that happen during the winter selling season, it is true that there are fewer properties on the market during this time frame. It makes finding the place you want a little more problematic.
What can be different and favorable for buyers is that winter sellers tend to be serious and motivated. We don’t have a lot of discretionary sellers during the winter. Some sellers who have been overpriced make price adjustments and get very serious about consummating a sale. All things being equal, you can negotiate more aggressively.
The situation for sellers is not all that dissimilar. There are fewer buyers floating around but also fewer sellers with whom you must compete. In addition, the buyers that are active at this time of year are often people with deadlines. Something is driving them to take time during a busy season of the year to get out there and find a home. It is a good time of year for sellers to reevaluate just a bit and make a small price adjustment that will attract the attention of the serious buyers.
Myths die hard. The winter IS as good a time for doing real estate as any other time of year.