Winter Might be the Best Time to Buy a House in Need of Renovation

best time to buy a house in need of renovation

In the market for a fixer-upper? This winter just might be the right time for you!

An argument could be made that winter is a bad time to shop for a home. It’s cold out, which makes house hunting a drag. And the trees and grass don’t look quite as pretty as they did a few months ago. When you really think about it, however, these issues could be good things! Here’s why.

Competition Falls Off

Ask any real estate professional, “When is the slow time?” and he or she is very likely to point a finger at wintertime. Once the holidays get rolling and the weather turns cold, the pace of showings and open houses tends to fall off significantly. People are far less likely to move when the kids are in school, and the holidays only serve to cement that reluctance.

Once the holidays get rolling and the weather turns cold, the pace of showings and open houses tends to fall off significantly.

If you’re willing to navigate winter challenges, you may find yourself at an advantage. Fewer buyers out there means sellers, short on offers, might be more willing to make a deal. Add to that the naturally smaller pool of buyers willing to look at fixer-uppers and the odds really might be more in your favor than they were in July.

Contractors Aren’t Booked Solid

Depending on where you live, the winter might be an easier time to find tradesmen to do smaller, fixer-upper type projects. In theory, the winter sees fewer large project starts in areas where it snows or freezes frequently. This temporary downturn in large projects can leave some highly skilled people with a few days available here and there. Those short little windows of availability can be just the amount of time needed to bang out smaller projects that come hand in hand with a handyman special.

Indoor projects are also more attractive to tradespeople during the winter. A carpenter who’s happy place most of the year is in building decks might be far more willing to take on your interior trim project when it’s single-digit temps outside!

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Faster ROI on Green Building Projects

Energy efficiency is almost always on the short list of improvements for fixer-upper homes. A home that needs work rarely boasts the most recent technology. Old single-pane windows are leaking air, insulation is thin or nonexistent and the old HVAC systems is constantly breaking down while also consuming a fortune in energy costs.

If you live in a cold climate, winter can be a great time to see almost instant returns on energy efficiency projects. Just be cautious when asking about pricing because the law of supply and demand can come into play. When it gets cold outside, people tend to pay closer attention to those HVAC systems on their last legs and other green building-type issues. This can increase demand and raise prices. Do the math to be sure you don’t pay so much of a premium as to negate all of your energy cost savings.

The underlying premise here is no surprise. If you look for the opportunity in every situation, or every season, you can usually find it. As the seasons change and the weather turns cold for a few months, maybe there’s an opportunity in that for you. I hope you find it!