Buy a Chicago house in winter? Really? Well, another Thanksgiving has passed. And along with it, another evening with family members with whom you don’t always see eye-to-eye is gone. (At least until next year).
Chief among them for me? Uncle Ned. His characteristic somber attitude and brooding looks are only interrupted when he loudly proclaims his thoughts on national security and immigration. Plus his oft-repeated admonishment that “winter is coming”. Once a year, Ned is right: Winter is here.
Along with winter may come a sense of foreboding. Especially if you’re the type who’s put off finding a home. Or simply been at the mercy of unforeseen delays. If that’s you, fret not! You’re still in control of your own destiny. Just because the weather’s turned doesn’t mean your chances of finding the right place have frozen until spring. Here’s an easy holiday gift for you.
The 3 Best Reasons To Buy A Chicago House In Winter
1. The yearly realities of winter are more obvious.
Chicagoans are a funny lot when it comes to winter. Specifically, we like to pretend it doesn’t exist as soon as the thermometer consistently reads above 40 degrees. Far be it for me to ruin your dreams, but it’s worth noting that winter has returned with fairly reliable consistency.
When it comes to home-buying, the best reason to buy a Chicago house in winter is you get a front-row seat to how your future home holds up during some of the toughest weather this city will throw at it.
Even before you set foot into the house, you’ll already be able to visualize your driveway, entrance, porch, gutters, roof, and more. Take the guesswork out of your future home’s constitution! Test your future furnace. Run your hand across window and door seams. Even spring for a thermal FLIR camera to check areas with weak insulation.
The best reason to buy a Chicago house in winter is, well, winter. Explore more about why a move to Chicago during Winter is a good idea.
2. Weather and taxes and buyers, Oh my!
Many people may not realize this, but a buyer in winter has a lot more power than they may expect. There are a lot of factors working in your corner to ensure you’re able to negotiate the best deal. For starters, most sellers understand the rigors of moving into and out of a home during the winter. And they are just as ready as you are to pull the trigger. As a result, sellers will often list their homes priced to sell in an effort to avoid needlessly lengthy negotiations. And that’s just one aspect of this second best reason to buy a Chicago house in winter.
Fewer buyers in the (frozen) pool.
Another important consideration is the overall lack of buyers in the pool. Sellers know most people aren’t house-hunting during the coldest months of the year. And those that are tend to be the more serious and hardy of the group. Thus many sellers will be willing to concede on price, terms, or concessions in order to close the deal with a strong, reliable buyer. Browse all Chicago listings.
Taxes are a motivator.
To wrap this section up, and arguably the best reason to buy a Chicago house in winter, is sellers can be very motivated by tax reasons. If they’re looking to apply any credits or claims on their taxes for the year, they’ll probably want to sign closing papers before the new year’s bell rings. Also in the new year? Mortgage rate increases. Since those typically happen early in the year, buying or selling in winter often means both parties save money.
3. If you buy a Chicago house in winter, time is on your side.
The pace of winter slows down things tremendously in Chicago and across the Midwest. In practical terms, this means you’ll need to be patient with your search. Especially if you’re looking for a dream home. The best reason to buy a Chicago house in winter may be that you’re in the driver’s seat, but you’ll need to pay attention to the road and the speed.
Fewer buyers in the market means a stronger position for you but also means fewer options in the market.
You’ll need to stay conscious of the human tendency to get overly excited at the first deal that pops out at you. Be certain you’re doing your due diligence on the homes you decide to put an offer on. Since landscaping and outdoor spaces will be tough to gauge during this frozen period, don’t be afraid to ask sellers for photos of their homes during warmer months. If their property has been on the market for a while, they almost certainly have these somewhere.
Remember as a serious buyer with a desire to make a deal, you’re in charge of the deal’s velocity.
Don’t let yourself get swept away by short turnaround times, personal excitement, or the specter of other offers. Ensure you pace yourself as you inspect and consider all the options pertaining to your purchase. This is especially true for inspections.
Though one of the best reasons to buy a Chicago house in winter is the ability to test its resilience, you’ll need to account for the things that winter doesn’t let you test.
Does the air conditioner work properly? How much wear and tear is visible on the roof? Does the yard actually have any grass in it? If there’s a septic tank, what condition is it in?
To take advantage of the best reason to buy a Chicago house in winter, you’ll want to request permits and invoices for work done on the house. Or alternatively make sure your seller holds some money in escrow to deal with any issues that you can’t properly inspect until the warmer months. Be patient and you will be rewarded.
Interested in learning more about buying or selling a Chicago home? Have questions about the best reasons to buy a Chicago house in winter? We’re here to help, contact us!