Seasonal Benefits of Buying a Home in the Winter

Winter may not be the traditional season for buying a home, but it offers a host of advantages that can make it a smart choice for many buyers.

With lower competition, motivated sellers, and potential financial benefits, purchasing a home in the winter can be both strategic and cost-effective. Let’s explore the seasonal benefits of buying a home in the winter and why it might be the perfect time for you to make your move.

Lower Competition and Fewer Buyers

One of the most significant benefits of buying a home in the winter is the reduced competition. Many buyers prefer to wait until spring or summer, leading to fewer people competing for the same properties.

This lower competition can translate into less pressure and a smoother buying process.

More Time to Decide

Thorough Evaluation and Informed Decision Making

With fewer buyers, you won’t feel rushed to make quick decisions. You can take your time to thoroughly evaluate properties, weigh the pros and cons, and make a more informed decision.

Happy family lying on floor after buying new houseThis slower pace can be particularly beneficial for first-time homebuyers, who might need extra time to understand the market and make a confident choice.

Motivated Sellers and Potential for Better Prices

Winter sellers often have compelling reasons for listing their homes, such as job relocations or financial imperatives, which can make them more eager to negotiate on price and terms.

Homes on the market during winter may be priced more competitively to facilitate quicker sales. This creates a favorable environment for buyers to secure better deals and potentially save on their home purchases compared to peak seasons with more aggressive pricing.

Attractive Pricing and Negotiation Opportunities

Winter sellers often have compelling reasons for listing their homes, such as job relocations or financial imperatives, which can make them more eager to negotiate on price and terms.

Homes on the market during the winter may be priced more competitively to facilitate quicker sales. This creates a favorable environment for buyers to secure better deals and potentially save on their home purchase compared to peak seasons with more aggressive pricing.

Financial Benefits and Year-End Incentives

Winter coincides with the end of the fiscal year, and many financial institutions are eager to close deals to meet their annual targets. This can result in better mortgage rates, discounts, and incentives for buyers.

Real estate agents and brokers might also be more flexible with their fees to secure deals before the year ends.

Tax Advantages and Savings Opportunities

Purchasing a home before the year ends can offer tax benefits. You can deduct mortgage interest, property taxes, and some closing costs on your annual tax return.

These deductions can lead to significant savings, making winter home buying not only strategic but also financially beneficial.

Easier to Identify Issues with the Property

Assessing Insulation, Heating Efficiency, and Overall Condition

Winter is an ideal time to assess a home’s insulation and heating efficiency. During a home inspection, you can easily identify drafts, cold spots, and other issues that might not be as apparent in warmer months.

This can help you ensure the home is energy-efficient and comfortable during the colder season.

Evaluating Weather-Related Resilience

Winter weather provides a unique opportunity to see how a home withstands harsh conditions.

You can observe the state of the roof, gutters, and drainage systems during rain or snow. This firsthand experience can reveal potential maintenance issues and help you make a more informed decision about the property’s resilience and durability.

Real Estate Market Trends

Understanding Seasonal Market Fluctuations and Benefits of Buying a Home in the Winter

The real estate market experiences predictable seasonal fluctuations, with winter typically being a quieter period characterized by reduced transaction volumes.

This seasonal trend can work in favor of buyers looking for specific types of properties or seeking opportunities in their desired neighborhoods.

Understanding these market dynamics, including the benefits of buying a home in the winter, empowers buyers to strategically time their purchases for maximum advantage.

Long-Term Market Considerations

While winter may be slower in terms of market activity, it presents favorable conditions for long-term investment strategies and highlights the benefits of buying a home in the winter.

Real estate traditionally appreciates over time, and purchasing during the off-season positions buyers to benefit from future property value appreciation.

Down trend housing market concept. Financial data on the background.

Moreover, winter often unveils unique property listings that may not be available or as accessible during more competitive seasons, offering buyers a broader selection to choose from.


There are a number of benefits to buying a home in the winter, from lower competition and motivated sellers to financial incentives and the ability to spot potential issues.

By understanding these advantages, you can make a strategic decision that aligns with your goals and budget. Don’t wait for spring—your dream home might be waiting for you this winter.


Is it cheaper to buy a home in the winter?

Yes, it can be cheaper to buy a home in the winter due to several factors. Firstly, there is typically lower competition among buyers during the winter months, which can drive prices down or make sellers more willing to negotiate.

Additionally, motivated sellers who list their homes in the winter may be more inclined to accept lower offers to facilitate a quicker sale. These factors combined can lead to cost savings for buyers compared to more competitive seasons like spring and summer.

What are the risks of buying a home in the winter?

Buying a home in the winter does come with some risks. One of the main challenges is weather-related issues during the moving process. Cold temperatures, snow, and ice can make moving logistics more complicated and potentially hazardous.

Another risk is the difficulty in assessing the landscaping and exterior features of the property, such as the condition of the yard, driveway, and outdoor structures, which may be covered in snow or dormant during the winter.

How can the winter weather help identify home issues?

Winter weather provides a unique opportunity to uncover specific issues that may not be as noticeable during warmer seasons.

For example, cold temperatures can reveal insulation problems or drafts in the home. Heating systems are put to the test during winter, allowing buyers to assess their efficiency and performance.

Additionally, snow and ice can highlight drainage issues, roof conditions, and the overall resilience of the property to harsh weather conditions.

Are mortgage rates lower in the winter?

Yes, mortgage rates can be more competitive in the winter months. Financial institutions often have year-end targets to meet, prompting them to offer attractive rates and incentives to borrowers.

This competitive environment can benefit buyers by providing access to lower interest rates, potentially reducing overall borrowing costs when purchasing a home in the winter.

What are the tax benefits of buying a home in the winter?

Buying a home before the year ends can offer several tax advantages. Buyers may be eligible to deduct mortgage interest payments, property taxes, and certain closing costs on their annual tax returns for the year of purchase.

These deductions can result in significant tax savings, making winter home buying not only financially advantageous but also tax-efficient.

The Impact of Remote Work on Housing Choices

In recent years, the landscape of work has undergone a transformative shift, with remote work becoming a prominent feature of the professional world. This change has not only altered our daily work routines but has also significantly influenced where and how we choose to live. The key phrase guiding our exploration today is “remote work trends.” Let’s delve into the ways in which these trends are shaping people’s preferences for home locations and features.

Embracing Flexibility in Home Location

One of the most apparent impacts of the rise in remote work is the newfound flexibility in choosing a home location. No longer bound by the constraints of a daily commute to the office, individuals are free to explore living in areas that were once deemed impractical. The keyword here is “flexibility.” This newfound freedom has sparked a trend of individuals opting for homes in suburban or rural settings, seeking a more serene and spacious environment.

Suburban Resurgence: A Quest for Tranquility

With remote work eliminating the need to live in close proximity to urban centers, there’s been a resurgence in suburban living. Families and professionals alike are drawn to the tranquility and open spaces that suburban areas offer. The keyword “resurgence” encapsulates this shift, highlighting the return of interest in suburban neighborhoods that provide a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Redefining Home Features for Remote Work

As remote work becomes a long-term reality for many, the features individuals seek in a home have evolved. The keyword “evolved” is crucial here, signifying the dynamic nature of these changes. Home offices have become a top priority, with many homebuyers actively looking for dedicated spaces that facilitate productivity. The traditional notion of a commute to work has transformed into a walk down the hall to a personalized workspace.

Outdoor Amenities: A Breath of Fresh Air

Remote work has also sparked a growing appreciation for outdoor amenities. The keyword “appreciation” captures this sentiment, highlighting the newfound value placed on spaces such as gardens, balconies, or nearby parks. With more time spent at home, individuals are seeking environments that promote well-being, and outdoor spaces provide a breath of fresh air—both metaphorically and literally.

Technological Infrastructure: The Backbone of Remote Living

A seamless remote work experience is contingent on robust technological infrastructure. The keyword “seamless” is key here, emphasizing the importance of a reliable internet connection and advanced communication tools. Homebuyers are now considering the availability of high-speed internet and efficient home office setups as essential criteria when selecting a residence.

A Holistic Approach to Remote Living

In embracing remote work, individuals are adopting a holistic approach to their living spaces. Beyond the physical aspects of a home, there’s a growing emphasis on community and local amenities. The keyword “holistic” encapsulates this trend, illustrating the desire for a well-rounded living experience that goes beyond the confines of one’s home.

Conclusion: Remote Work as a Catalyst for Change

In conclusion, the impact of remote work on housing choices goes beyond the immediate shift in location preferences. It is a catalyst for a broader transformation in how we perceive and utilize our living spaces. The keyword “catalyst” aptly describes the role remote work plays in steering us towards a more flexible, balanced, and technologically driven lifestyle. As we continue to navigate this evolving landscape, it’s evident that our homes are no longer just living spaces but integral components of a remote and dynamic work-life equilibrium.


What to ignore during your search for the perfect condo

Condos can be the ideal purchase for homebuyers who are on tight budgets. They’re typically lower priced than single-family homes, insurance is less expensive and ongoing home maintenance costs are kept to a minimum.

There are some aspects of condo-buying that should never be ignored, however. These include:

  • The periodic association fee and how much it will add to your monthly house payment.
  • The homeowner association packet of documents for the homebuyer (it includes vital information).
  • Communities with a large number of homes for sale. Do the research required to find out why so many residents are leaving.

When touring condos for sale, however, some things are better left ignored.

Try to look beyond the cosmetics

Cosmetic issues are easily remedied and typically inexpensive to fix. Ignore the following while looking at condos for sale:

Wall color

Paint colors are personal and what turns on one person may be repulsive to another. Because condos are typically smaller than single-family homes, distasteful wall colors can overtake entire rooms.

Not only that, but the wrong color can make a room appear smaller than it is. Don’t take the paint’s word for it – measure rooms to get the true size.

Then, remember that walls can be transformed relatively inexpensively.

The average square footage of a U.S. condo is 1,482 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The nationwide average cost to paint a home this size, without hiring a professional, is between $200 and $300 for basic paint and $400 to $600 for high-quality paint.

Hire a pro to do it for you for about $1,100 to $2,000, according to

Ignore the walls – it’s an easy, inexpensive fix.

Dark and gloomy is also an easy fix

Even with all our years of viewing homes, it remains a mystery to us how some people can live in dark, gloomy homes. Even a lack of natural light shouldn’t prohibit someone from introducing artificial light sources to the home, especially when it’s a fact that light helps lift our moods.

Don’t let the gloom stop you from putting in an offer on a condo that offers most everything else you are seeking in a home. Lighting is inexpensive and, the right fixtures can transform your home.

Check out the room-by-room lighting guide at Huffington Post and ways to enhance your decorating scheme with lighting at

The personal stuff will be gone

We get it. All that dated furniture, the collections of books, knick-knacks or other items, family photos and other personal items and clutter are distracting.

And, although it may be challenging, it’s important to remember that it will all be gone when you move in. Look beyond the clutter to the basic flow of each room — the “bones” of the home.

The flip side is just as dangerous

While ugly interiors can be distracting, so can gorgeous ones. Stagers are skilled at making homes appear move-in ready and at creating interiors that appeal to a broad range of homebuyers.

Don’t buy into the fantasy

Those Imperial silk draperies will most likely go home with the stager when the home is sold. Ditto for all the accessories that go into the psychological appeal of the room, the throw pillows, fresh flowers and plants and mirrors and artwork.

Staged rooms also may not be as large as you think they are. Some stagers use smaller-scale furniture to trick the eye into making a room appear bigger. Paint colors are likewise chosen to make homes seem roomier.

If in doubt as to whether or not your furniture will fit in the home, measure each room.

The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA) cautions homebuyers that stagers often use “furniture and wall hangings to cover up or direct a buyer’s attention away from floor damage or wall damage.”

They also remind homebuyers that staged homes are often perceived as being well-maintained homes. Often, this perception is far from reality.

“Many times, staged homes take advantage of the staging to cover up deferred maintenance issues and improper construction and repair issues,” they say in the 2007 report, “How to Not Get Tricked by Staging, and Potentially Save $5,645 when you Buy your Home.

Ignore the home’s staging and perform your due diligence by looking behind wall hangings and under rugs and furniture.

Whether the condos you tour are diamonds in the rough or staged to perfection, it pays to look beyond the cosmetics to whether the space works for your needs and lifestyle.

Tips to consider when buying a home with family members

The industry that brought you the iconic “location, location, location” has a new one for you: “multigenerational housing.” No, it’s not a new concept, but housing that caters to several generations under one roof is gaining in popularity.

We started seeing the demand during the recession, when unemployment propelled younger workers back to Mom and Dad’s house. Then, there’s the fact that millennials are tending to put off marriage and remain at home longer, according to Diana Olick at CNBC.

Immigration is also a driver of the multi-gen housing market. “In Asian and Hispanic cultures, multigenerational living is usually the rule. As these immigrants move to the U.S. in greater numbers, they bring the trend along with them,” Olick suggests.

Burns Consulting surveyed 20,000 homebuyers last year and found that 44 percent said they wanted room for their parents. Forty-two percent were parents wanting room for their adult children.

Thinking about moving in with your kids or your parents? Read on for some tips gleaned from the 51 million Americans who have done it.

Home shopping tips

The most important aspect to consider when shopping for a multi-gen property is privacy. Each member of the family should have some space to call his or her own that provides a place to retreat. This may mean building an “in-law” unit or constructing new walls to divide rooms.

You’ll need to look into the local zoning laws if you choose the former or find a large home to take advantage of the latter.

Lucky you if you choose a community in which home builders are catering to the trend. Lennar, for instance, offers NextGen homes, also known as The Home Within a Home®. They’re currently offered in 13 states (Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Minnesota, Florida, North and South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland).

The money stuff

Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but the financial aspect of the home purchase and ongoing costs are a discussion that needs to take place early in the process. And, the discussion should not be “a parent-kid thing,” according to John Graham, co-author of “All in the Family: A Practical Guide to Successful Multigenerational Living.”

He goes on to caution that families should aim to “level the hierarchy of the family,” treating each member as adults. Some of the topics of these conversations should include:

  • Who will buy the property?
  • How will title be held? It’s important to understand the different ways of holding title. For instance, what happens to the home upon the death of the primary buyer?
  • How much will each adult contribute each month to the mortgage payment?
  • Lists of each family member’s must-haves in a home and those he or she can’t tolerate.

Talk to your attorney to ensure you’ve discussed all the ramifications.

Talk to one another

Some families excel at open communication while others find it challenging. “The biggest factor in successful arrangements is communication,” Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United tells Sue Campbell, author of “The Aging Well Revolution: How new communities and technologies help us live.”

“You need to sit down before someone moves in and talk about expectations and parameters, including how you’ll divide up food, utilities and responsibilities. Another important question to ask is whether the situation is permanent or temporary,” Butts concludes.

Get clear on mutually-agreed upon house rules, preferably before everyone moves in together.

Dysfunctional families may find the thought of multigenerational living intolerable, but for those families who enjoy close ties and harbor respect for one another, it may just be the ideal lifestyle.

Get Help With Your Down Payment

It’s frustrating to have a decent-paying job, a bright earnings future and acceptable credit and still not be able to buy a home because you lack the thousands of dollars in cash needed for a down payment and closing costs.

The dreaded down payment stops more potential homeowners cold than any other aspect of the loan process.

To read articles about down payment headaches one would think it’s only millennials who have trouble coming up with the funds.

In reality, most would-be first-time homebuyers, regardless of age, find saving up 20 percent of hundreds of thousands of dollars challenging.

Sure, you may qualify for a loan with a lower down payment, but do you really want to add to your monthly house payment by purchasing the mandated private mortgage insurance policy? That’s what’s required if you don’t have 20 percent equity in a home you purchase.

Today, we’ll explore ways you can get help with the down payment on your new home.

Crowdfund your down payment

Enter, HomeFundMe CMG Financial, which offers a brilliant way for you to come up with that down payment: Crowdfunding – with the approval of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Before the crowdfunding concept came into being, lenders stipulated that your down payment and closing cost funds must come from your savings (mutual funds, stocks, IRA and 401(K) included), proceeds from the sale of another property, assistance from government programs or non-profits, union, employers or gift money from an immediate relative.

HomeFundMe allows anyone to donate funds to help you buy a home and CMG Financial provides the online platform.

While many crowdfunding endeavors offer a return on investment, the HomeFundMe program returns nothing to those who give. Money given is considered a gift, although they can make the gift conditional on the money eventually going to fund a home purchase.

The program offers incentives to savers, however. Attend credit counselling and education classes and you may receive a grant of up to $2,500. Then, the crowdfunding platform will match donations “$2 for every $1 raised, up to $2,500,” according to CNBC’s Diana Olick.

Get help from the government

The government, from local to county, state and federal, offers programs to help Americans get into home ownership. Some of these programs are geared toward the low-income applicant while others are open to all.

Federal Home Loan Bank

The Federal Home Loan Bank offers three programs to help homebuyers with their down payments and closing costs:

  • Home$tart® — Assistance up to $7,500 for borrowers who take the homebuyer education program and earn up to 80 percent of their area’s median income (find yours on HUD’s website). Unlike the aforementioned programs, these funds come in the form of a grant.
  • Home$tart Plus — $15,000 to borrowers who are currently receiving public housing assistance. Borrowers must complete a financial literacy program and be income qualified.
  • Native American Homeownership Initiative (NAHI) — $15,000 to eligible Native American households to help with a down payment and closing costs.

Good Neighbor Next Door

This program falls under the auspices of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and offers a discount (typically 50 percent) off the asking price of a home. The program is open to applicants in the following professions:

  • Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade teachers
  • Law enforcement officers
  • Emergency medical technicians
  • Firefighters

Be aware that this program only covers homes in HUD’s revitalization areas that are listed for sale through this program.

Learn more about the program and how to apply on HUD’s website.

State and local programs

FHA offers state-wide down payment grants through a variety of programs. Search for them here.

Search for local programs at Freddie Mac’s website.

The National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (NALHFA) suggests using to find information on local assistance programs.

provides local-level program information.

Finally, several labor unions, such as the Culinary Union, offer homebuying assistance programs for members.

3 Words You Must Learn And Understand Before You Buy A Home

When you’re shopping for homes you’ll be introduced to an entirely new vocabulary and I’ll be the first to agree with you that some of it seems downright boring. Take encroachments and easements, for instance.

Though they sound ho-hum, they are both important concepts so today I thought I’d try to put them in plain English for you.

What’s an encroachment?

Encroachment describes the violation of a homeowner’s property rights. Imagine your next-door neighbor, Frank, decides he is tired of having only a carport and builds a garage. When complete, the structure extends onto your property. This is encroachment.

Encroachment can be intentional or unintentional

And, typically, it’s the latter. Unless you are absolutely sure where your property lines are — down to the inch — you’ll have no way of knowing if you’re encroaching on your neighbor’s property when you decide to plant that gorgeous oleander hedge between the two homes.

And, an easement?

In Hawaii, all beaches are publicly-owned and the public is ensured access to all “land below the high-water mark on any coastal shoreline.”

In other words, should you purchase a home on a beach in our 50th state, you cannot block the public from using that beach. In Kahala (on Oahu) for instance, you’ll find pathways that cut between multi-million- dollar homes, from Kahala Avenue to the water.

These paths are public rights-of-ways, or easements — allowing others to travel or pass through their land. And the homeowners on either side have no say in the matter.

The primary distinction, then, between encroachments and easements, is one of permission.

How to deal with encroachment — and why you must

When an encroachment comes to light, both parties have options. Remember Frank – the neighbor who built his garage partially on your property? Suppose this happened decades before you figured out that he had encroached on your property.

You approach Frank, voicing your displeasure. Your most common options include ignoring the trespass, forcing the removal of the garage, offer Frank an easement or have him sign an encroachment agreement.

All of these remedies require the advice and assistance of an attorney

What if Frank doesn’t like any of these options? He may have one of his own (and you won’t like it): adverse possession.

Yes, another ho-hum real estate/legal term, but one that has a huge impact, if invoked. Through the adverse possession process, Frank may be able to gain ownership your portion of the land on which the garage sits.

In fact, adverse possession can be used to gain ownership of “just a few feet of property or hundreds of acres,” according to Emily Doskow, attorney and author of “Neighbor Law: Fences, Trees Boundaries & Noise.”

Although state laws vary, Doskow says that courts generally apply a “four-factor test” when looking at adverse possession claims. The occupation of the land must be:

  • hostile
  • actual
  • open and notorious
  • exclusive and continuous for a certain period of time

Courts don’t define “hostile” the way we do. In an adverse possession case, it describes that Frank’s possession of your land is hostile to your interests.

Then, the courts will want to see that Frank actually used your land as if he were the owner.

He can prove this, according to Doskow, if he can produce records showing he maintained or improved the property or paid taxes on it.

The third factor of the test is that Frank’s use of your property must be obvious “to anyone – including a property owner.”

Finally, Frank must prove that he controlled the land exclusively (meaning he didn’t share it with you) and that he did so for certain amount of time (which varies by state).

How to avoid adverse possession

When determining how to deal with encroachment, it’s important to keep Frank’s option in mind.

Your best option, in any type of encroachment, may be to either offer to rent the offender that piece of your property or grant him an easement.

But, it’s critical that you contact a real estate attorney who will help you consider all possible options. And do it quickly because there is a statute of limitations.