By Rob Greenbaum, Vice President of Sales with AAFMAA Mortgage Services LLC (AMS)
It’s a fact of military life: You and your family may get orders to move at a moment’s notice, taking you across the country or around the globe any time of year.
As a homebuyer, a move during the winter can work in your favor. According to the National Association of Realtors, November through February is the slowest-selling time for homes. The median sales prices of homes is typically lower this time of year, and properties stay on the market an average of 90 days. As a result, many of the home-buying pros you’ll need to rely on — real estate agents, brokers, and lenders — do less business during the winter and will have more time to assist you in finding and buying a new home. But that’s just the beginning of the benefits. Here are five more reasons why buying in winter is a smart move:
1. Tax Savings
If you close by December 31 of the current year, you may be able to deduct mortgage interest and points paid on your loan. These deductions could be significant in the coming years, too, because you pay the most interest in the early years of your loan. Be sure to check with your tax advisor about your particular situation.
2. Less Competition
Since the winter is a slower time for home sales, you’ll face less competition from other buyers, especially those with all-cash offers or offers over the seller’s asking price. You’ll have more time to be selective, and your traditionally financed offer will be more appealing to sellers, especially if you have a pre-approval letter from your lender.
3. Sellers Are Motivated
Since homes sell more slowly during the winter, buyers may be more eager to sell. Take note of how long a home has been on the market — referred to as “days on market” or DOM. If a house has been on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for a while, you may be able to negotiate a lower price with the seller or have them agree to other concessions such as certain repairs or upgrades.
4. Testing of Harsh Conditions
Winter weather can stress a home’s heating and insulation systems, giving you an opportunity to judge how well they perform. Plus, you'll get a good idea of how other components of the home hold up in the winter. Is the driveway steep and difficult to clear? Does the porch freeze over? Does ice accumulate on the roof or in rain gutters? There’s no hiding any problems or inconveniences that could be overlooked in warmer months.
5. You’ll Be a Priority
During the busier spring and summer months, mortgage lenders often have a packed schedule of closings, so your closing could be pushed to days or even weeks later than your intended timing. Business slows during the winter, though, so your real estate agent, broker and lender will likely prioritize your purchase.
We’re Here to Help
AMS is ready to assist you this winter. We’ll walk you through the several types of loans to consider and help you obtain a low-cost and low-rate mortgage to build, buy or refinance your home. Get a free mortgage assessment today or call us at 844-211-6308 to get started.