Winter is one of the best times of the year to secure yourself a good property at a great price. However strong the temptation to suspend your search and get into a festive mood, don’t stop looking. As a buyer, you’re in a strong position at this time of year, especially if you have a good offer on your own property, and even better if you’re a cash purchaser.
The fact that property looks so much better in spring and early summer is of course a very good reason NOT to buy at that time of year. Wait until the garden is bare; there are no leaves to block the view of the scrap yard, or to muffle the sound of the main road; the gutters are overflowing; the water’s pooling around the front door; and the condensation is streaming down the windows. This is a safe time of year to see property – warts and all. If you like it now, you’ll love it in May. But in the meantime, your head will be firmly in charge and your heart won’t get a look in.
Don’t be put off by a lack of new property coming onto the portals. There will be less coming onto the market, but this is the time of year that price drops are most likely. Take another look at the properties you’ve rejected as too expensive in the past – if they’re still on the market, this is a good opportunity to review them. They may have already dropped in price, but if not, the increasingly desperate vendors may be open to a cheeky offer. There’s a great stigma attached to ‘stale’ property; but the reality is that ‘stale’ is only bad if you’re the vendor. As a buyer, a property that’s been on the market for a while has probably been reduced in price at least once, and possibly several times.
More worrying than ‘stale’ property are houses that keeps disappearing and reappearing on the market – this might be indicative of a problem, so question the agents closely about the selling history.
A useful exercise at this time of year is to spend plenty of time on the phone to the agents. As well as finding out about price drops and fall throughs, you may well find out about properties that they are due to launch in the new year. This gives you a great head start when the market gets moving after the festivities.
In the darkening days of autumn, a low offer could be well received by a vendor who is contemplating the prospect of another year without moving. As a purchaser with cash in your pocket, and in interest in their property, you are a very attractive proposition. If you can hang on with your offer till mid-December, all the better. Put in a sensibly low offer, and the vendor may well be tempted to bite. You are offering them the chance to relax and enjoy the festivities, and go into 2018 with a new start.
Remember, you’re not looking to move by Christmas, just to secure the deal, and progress things far enough that you’re ready to exchange and complete in the New Year. So do the deal, and relax in the knowledge that come the New Year you can sort out all the paperwork and move at your leisure, having saved yourself what could amount to a serious amount of money.
For more information on how your Stacks Buying Agent can help negotiate you the best deal on your next property see here.
If you are househunting in Winter, get some more tips on how to be savvy Winter househunter here.
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