So real estate wisdom tells us that spring and summer are the prime seasons for house hunting and moving. People are more likely to get out and shop when the weather is nice. It is a more pleasant time of year, and sellers know their yards look better when not covered in snow. Yet there are some very logical and compelling reasons for going shopping for a house and moving in the winter as well.

As we know, moving and real estate often go hand in hand, and though we’d like to dictate when we move and when we buy a house, very often other circumstances can emerge and force us to sell, buy and move anytime of year. But having to buy a house in the winter is not the worst thing that can happen. In fact, here are some advantages that show how you could benefit from house hunting in the winter.

Fewer Buyers to Compete With

The most obvious plus of buying and moving in winter is exactly because real estate wisdom says to shop spring and summer. As a result of this popular piece of real estate advice, there will be fewer buyers in competition during the winter months.

It’s simple economics – the low demand will work in your favor. So for the investor looking to find a good deal in the housing market, the winter can be prime time.

Lower Inventory But Less Competition

In most markets, winter usually means a lower inventory with less houses on the market. While this is often the case, it’s possible to find the right space and with fewer people looking, you’ll have less competition.

Prices are Lower

When you have fewer buyers in the market, supply exceeds demand. This usually results in prices being lower than during the hot or peak season.

Sellers are Motivated

All the low activity in the winter will result in sellers being far more motivated to sell. Real estate agents know that the slow winter months are when sellers are more willing to negotiate, whether it is on selling price, closing costs, closing date or even terms of the sale, including what household appliances and items are included in the sale. And these are all the very reasons that many real estate agents recommend that their clients delay listing their homes till at least the spring. The winter is not a great time for sellers, in general.

What Are the Seller’s Circumstances?

Furthermore, there are the circumstances hinted at above when sellers are forced to sell during the winter. Perhaps a job offer has dictated a winter move, or the seller may have personal issues that are dictating his/her actions – financial issues, divorce, etc. Again, this may work to the buyer’s advantage as the seller will be very motivated.

Fewer Chances That There Will Be Multiple Offers on the House You Want

Another reason that winter can be such a buyer’s market for real estate is that the fewer number of buyers competing for homes means that the chances of there being multiple offers on a single property are greatly reduced. This again translates to buyers having the upper hand over sellers in the negotiations.

Your Real Estate Agent Will Work Harder For You

Low activity during the winter months also means you will have the undivided attention of your realtor, and he or she will be working harder for you. These lean months of low sales volume encourage realtors to try just that little bit harder to negotiate a sale.

So brave the cold, pull on a winter coat, and get out there and house hunt. Remember that in the U.S., it is still a great time to invest in real estate. Prices are low and so are interest rates.

The fall real estate market is almost always a hot season. Home selling in autumn or fall is the second best time of the year to sell a home. Families have returned from summer vacations. Kids have gone back to school. The holidays aren’t yet upon us, and we are set to enjoy 75 to 80 days of normalcy, and that’s a great time to sell a home.

In parts of the country with four seasons, we watch leaves explode in vibrant colors as for sale signs pop up in yards. People are happy and relaxed as the temperature begins to drop. It’s not just sweater weather that creates static electricity in autumn; it’s the scurrying of agents diligently working to pop a few more sales into the hopper before third quarter sales results are posted.

Here are 9 tips for attracting the autumn home buyer in the fall:

 

Clean Up the Yard

Rake dead leaves and debris in your lawn. Don’t let overgrown vegetation block the windows or path to the entrance. Cutting bushes and tree limbs will let the sun inside and showcase the exterior of your home. Cut away summer vines and cut down dead flowers. Make the most of autumn weather in the fall real estate market.

 

Create Autumn Curb Appeal

The most popular autumn flowers are chrysanthemums (or mums) and they bloom for a long time. I am also partial to marigolds for fall. Both mums and marigolds are available in yellow, which is my number one home selling color. Plant them in pots. Place pots on the steps and along the sidewalk. Accent with pumpkins or other types of squash.

 

Dress the Windows

Rain and wind from over the summer months can make your windows dusty and streaked by autumn. You might not notice smudges, but buyers will, if only on a subconscious level. To sell a home, your windows need to sparkle. Even though I am not selling my home, my cats routinely rub their little noses on the inside glass while walking along window ledges, so I need to wash my windows inside and out every autumn. Remove screens and spray them down.

Check the HVAC

You want the air inside your home to smell fresh. When was the last time you changed your furnace filter? You can buy 90-day furnace filters. Have the HVAC system checked before you need to turn on the heat. Besides, the buyer will ask a home inspector to look at your HVAC. If you discover problems with your furnace, it’s better to fix them before your home goes on the market.

Clean Out the Fireplace for the Fall Real Estate Market

Ah, nothing smells like autumn than smoke from a wood-burning fireplace. However, in some parts of the country, burning wood indoors or outdoors is outlawed. In Sacramento, we have certain days when we are not allowed to burn wood in the fireplace. If you have a gas fireplace, light it when buyers come through.If the fireplace is filled with cobwebs because it hasn’t been used for months, vacuum it out and wash it down. Some home stagers arrange knickknacks in the fireplace in place of wood logs.

Prepare Autumn Edibles

Speaking of autumn scents, you might set out freshly baked pumpkin cupcakes or simmer hot apple cider on the stove. Put a tray of cinnamon sticks on the counter, dotted with whole cloves. One of my favorite autumn treats as a kid was snickerdoodle cookies. Prop open a cookbook to an autumn stew. Fill a bowl with crisp red apples.

Set the Mood for Fall Real Estate Musically

When I think of autumn music, beyond “See You in September” and “California Dreamin’,” polka music and accordions come to mind. German beer fests are always held in October. But that doesn’t seem appropriate for autumn home selling unless you’re entertaining a frat house. I suspect a home seller is better off with Enya’s “The First of Autumn” or George Winston’s new age piano album “Autumn.”

Utilize Autumn Accent Colors

You don’t need to dump a lifeless sofa when you can accessorize its dullness with bright red, orange and / or golden yellow pillows. Toss a quilt or autumn-colored throw over a chair. After you’ve cleared away the clutter and depersonalized each room, bring a little bit of autumn hues to each room by placing bold-colored accent pieces in odd groupings such as 3’s and 5’s. Create an autumn centerpiece for the dining room table by arranging pine cones and nuts around orange candles, stick in a few leaves from the yard.

 

Turn on the Lights Everywhere

Above all, bring in the light. When days get shorter, the sun sets lower in the horizon and casts wider shadows. Pull up the blinds, open the shutters, push back the drapes on every window. Turn on every light in the house, including appliance lights and closet lights. Brighten darker rooms with few windows by placing spotlights on the floor behind furniture, and for goodness sakes, turn off the TV.

Simple Ideas for Improving Your Home’s Curb Appeal

 

When making home improvements, try to focus some of your efforts on the exterior and surrounding landscape, as well. If the interior gets a lot of attention, but the exterior doesn’t, they can seem out of sync for visitors. Low-cost suggestions include;

 

A more inviting entryway – One of the most high-profile exterior areas of your home is the entryway leading to the front door. It’s instinctive for people to focus on it, even those passing by. Consider painting the door an attention-grabbing color, like red. Invest in some shiny new door and doorbell hardware. Give the address numbers some attention, if necessary. And put out a fresh doormat.

 

Outdoor lighting – The impact of adding lights to your landscaping can be dramatic. Instead of staring out into a wall of darkness after the sun goes down, your yard becomes an extension of your home. Enjoy the nighttime views through the windows, or use the newly lit spaces to barbecue, relax or host evening gatherings.

 

More trees – When planted in an extra- large hole of healthy soil and watered regularly, most trees will quickly rise up and fill out into mature plantings, which makes the home they accompany seem more settled and sophisticated.

 

Power washing – The driveway, paths and walkways serving your house should be free of moss and other algae buildups, not only so they look their best, but also so no one slips and falls. Power washing makes this a relatively easy and inexpensive task,

 

First impressions are important – Whether you’re trying to sell your home or not, take some time to ensure your exterior looks it’s best.

 

Budget-Friendly Home Updates That Add Value

 

Considering a major home-improvement project If the home is new to you, it’s best to live in the property for at least a year before embarking on any big changes. That’s about how long it takes to learn all the quirks of a house, to understand its limitations, appreciate its strengths, and see how it responds to all four seasons.

 

Once you decide to move forward with a project, take time to consider not only the near-term benefits for you and your family, but also the potential for a future payoff when you sell, The trick is to do something that wither dramatically improves the function of a space, lowers operating costs, or provides a more updated look and feel.

 

Bathroom and kitchen remodels are often held up as excellent examples of improvement projects that add significant, lasting value to a home, those rooms are used so heavily that just about any well-implemented improvement will be appreciated by a potential buyer. But there are many other value-added improvement projects that cost far less money.

 

Here are nine examples for your consideration;

 

Upgrades for energy savings

Some of the smartest home-improvement investments you can make are energy-focused; buying a more energy-efficient furnace, adding insulation to the attic or walls, repairing heating ductwork, even just installing a programmable thermostat. Not only will those changes make life at home more comfortable, they’ll also reduce your energy bills by 10, 20, even 60 percent. Better still, a recent survey discovered that nine out of 10 home buyers will choose a home with lower utility bills, even if the other option is priced two to three percent less.

 

Window coverings

One of the nice things about updating your window coverings (blinds, curtains, etc.) is that you don’t need to include all the windows in the house in the project. In fact, you can focus your efforts on just one room this year, and another room next year.

 

Fireplace install

Fireplaces deliver instant ambience to any room-which is why 39 percent of home buyers call this an essential and highly desirable feature. Today, you can choose from a wide variety of attractive models that are small, affordable and energy-efficient. Some come as “inserts” that can fe fitted into an existing fireplace, while others can be installed anywhere that there’s access to an exterior wall.

 

New molding

Adding molding is an easy way to add elegance to your home, and give depth, definition and character to just about any room.  In many cases, this is a relatively simple and inexpensive do-it-yourself project: just make sure the style of the molding matches the style of your home.

 

Cabinet makeover

Instead of replacing those bathroom or kitchen cabinets – a project that can cost thousands- see what a difference new handles, hinges and pulls can make. If those don’t change things up enough, consider painting or refinishing the cabinets. Another option is to keep the current cabinet bodies but have the doors replaced (a.k.

Patio or deck project

Outdoor entertaining is all the rage today, which is why decks and patios are so popular with both homeowners and home buyers. Plus, these projects allow you to increase the living space of your home without having to invest in an expensive addition. The typical return on investment for a new deck: 80 percent of the money you spend to build it.

 

Ceiling fans

Ceiling fans are back in vogue, and of much better quality today. Adding one of these to the living room or a bedroom not only makes a decorative statement, it also helps air circulate (moving heated air down from the ceiling in winter; and creating a cooling breeze during summer). Choose one of the higher-quality, Energy Star-rated models, which are quieter and more efficient.

 

Home security improvements

Installing a home security system, or improving the one you have can deliver a financial payback right away in the form of a 15 to 20 percent discount on your home insurance, as well as make your home more desirable to future buyers (50 percent of whom say a security system is key)

 

New organizing solutions

Most homeowners feel they have too much stuff. Yet, they’re loath to get rid of anything. That’s why adding storage and organizing solutions can make your home more manageable and more desirable to future buyers. Many off-the-shelf storage systems are available, but some of the best solutions are small construction projects that make better use of existing space (under the stairs, in the attic, hanging from the garage rafters etc.).

 

Whatever project(s) you decide to pursue, the key is to keep the desires of future buyers in mind. Even when the demand for homes is high and the number of available properties is low, people can still be very selective.

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or a current owner looking for a bigger home, the ideas below will help you better navigate that all important first step; Finding a property that you like (and can afford).

The search for a new home always starts out with a lot of excitement. But if you haven’t prepared, frustration can soon set in, especially in a competitive real estate market. The biggest mistake is jumping into a search unfocused, just hoping to “see what’s available”. Instead, I recommend you first take some time to work through the following four steps:

STEP 1: TALK TO YOUR AGENT

Even if you’re just thinking about buying or selling a house, start by consulting your real estate agent. I can give you an up-to-the minute summary of the current real estate market, as well as mortgage industry trends. I can also put you in touch with all the best resources and educate you about the next best steps and much more.

STEP 2: DECIDE HOW MUCH HOME YOU CAN AFFORD

It may sound like a drag to start your home search with a boring financial review, but when all is said and done, you’ll be glad you did. With so few homes on the market now in many area, and so many people competing to buy what is available. It’s far more efficient to focus your search on only the properties you can afford. A meeting or two with a reputable mortgage agent should tell you everything you need to know.

STEP 3: ENVISION YOUR FUTURE

Typically, it takes at least five years for a home purchase to start paying off financially, which means, the better your new home suits you, the longer you’ll most likely remain living there. Will you be having children in the next five or six years? Where do you see your career heading? Are you interested in working from home, or making extra money by renting a portion of your home to others? Do you anticipate a relative coming? Share this information with your real estate agent, who can then help you evaluate school districts, work commutes, rental opportunities and more as you search for home together.

STEP 4: DOCUMENT YOUR IDEAL HOME

When it comes to this step, be realistic. It’s easy to get carried away dreaming about all the home features you want. Try listing everything on a piece of a paper, then choose the five “must-haves” and the five “really-wants.”

 

For more tips, as well as advice geared specifically to your situation, don’t hesitate to contact me.