The Coolest Time to Buy a Home

Don’t chill your housing search just yet. Winter may just be the most wonderful time of the year to shop for a new home.

Ali Hardy Dec 11, 2018

For many buyers, shopping for a new home in the current real estate market feels a lot like shopping on Black Friday, but with more competition and fewer deals. According to the National Association of Realtors, today’s buyers are facing higher prices and lower inventory compared to previous years. And it’s no secret that a lack of affordable inventory is presenting a real challenge to home buyers, especially those looking to purchase their first home.

All of us enjoy a good discount or finding a great item on clearance, but part of getting a good deal is knowing the right time to buy. And although the wintry season is in full swing, that doesn’t mean you can’t score a bargain on a home right now. Many buyers cool down their house shopping as the weather cools off, but that’s precisely why you should consider ramping up your search.

Consider these four advantages of winter home shopping.

Winter Home Search Advantage #1: Peak inventory

It may surprise you, but the fall and winter months are actually the best time for finding a great starter home. First-time home buyer data from Trulia indicate that for first-time homebuyers, starter home inventory peaks in the fourth quarter of the year. And the good news is that this seasonal swing is typically joined by lower listing prices.

Winter Home Search Advantage #2: Motivated Sellers

Even if you’re not looking for a starter home, winter buying can still be an advantage. This time of year can give buyers more negotiating power, as many sellers experience a lull during the holidays. This slow-down can lead to a home being on the market longer, fewer offers, a more motivated seller and a better price.

Winter Home Search Advantage #3: Lower closing costs

Although many home buyers and sellers drop out during the holidays, you may want to think twice before you do. According to, the best day of the year to buy a home is Dec. 26. According to their research, buyers who close on that date will save an average of $2,500, or about 1.3 percent, compared to buying on any other day. Maybe that’s just one more reason to call it the most wonderful time of the year.

Winter Home Search Advantage #4: Perfect time to get prequalified

If you’re not ready to buy quite yet, winter is also a great time to apply for a home loan and get prequalified. You can use this time to talk to your banker about your options and to gather and submit loan documents. That way, when springtime approaches you are in the best position to negotiate an offer on a home. After all, being prequalified and in the final stages of a mortgage approval may be enough to put you ahead of the competition if the seller has multiple offers.

If you’re ready to ramp up your home search this winter, check out Zions Bank’s home loan comparison table to find out which loan is right for you.

Zions Bank’s team of lending professionals are here to assist you through your home buying process, no matter the season. Contact a Zions Bank Mortgage Loan Officer today.

Loans are subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. See a banker for details. Equal Housing Lender. NMLS #467014.

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