Key Factors to Keep in Mind When Purchasing a Home During the Winter Season

By skipashraful Updated October 16, 2023 Reviewed by skipashraful
Photo Credit: BiggerPockets

There are numerous advantages to purchasing a home in the chilly winter months. Typically, there’s reduced competition among homebuyers during this season, potentially giving you an edge when making offers on properties. Additionally, your chances of successfully closing a deal increase, as reported by Zillow.

However, it’s essential to consider several crucial factors when house hunting during the holiday season or in the aftermath. Here are three valuable tips to help you select the right home and prevent potential issues in the future.

1. Uncover Hidden Problems with a Home Inspection

A layer of snow or ice covering a house can conceal serious issues. This is why scheduling a professional home inspection before committing to a purchase is vital. Your untrained eye may not catch all the problems.

A professional home inspector can identify problems, allowing you to address them before finalizing the purchase or guiding you away from a problematic property. A survey conducted by Porch revealed some alarming statistics:

– Nearly 20 percent of home inspectors found roof problems.
– 18.7 percent identified issues with the electrical system.
– 18.4 percent encountered window problems.
– 13.6 percent discovered plumbing system issues.
– 12.2 percent noticed problems with the water heater.

Whether you make the inspection a contingency in your contract or use it to decide if the home is suitable for you, the information is invaluable in making your decision.

2. Watch for Signs of Heating and Insulation Problems

One advantage of home shopping in winter is the opportunity to assess a home’s heat retention. For instance, long icicles hanging from the roof’s edge could signal inadequate insulation. The heat loss from the roof melts the snow and ice, forming icicles. Additionally, if you feel cold drafts coming through closed windows or gaps in doors, you’re looking at a home that requires work.

Even if the home appears well-insulated, consider the warmth and condition of its heating system. You don’t want to move in and discover you need a complete HVAC system replacement.

Fortunately, you don’t need to be an expert to evaluate a home’s heating system, but consulting a comprehensive furnace guide for inspection and replacement information is advisable.

3. Be Vigilant for Signs of Household Pests

Pest problems can be particularly troublesome in winter, as critters seek shelter from the cold. Mice, bats, raccoons, snakes, and insects may invade homes to stay warm. In fact, rodents alone invade an estimated 21 million American homes each winter, according to the National Pest Management Association.

Therefore, it’s crucial to carefully inspect the home’s basement and attic. Droppings, small holes in the walls, and odors can indicate pest issues on the surface. But for a more thorough assessment, you should engage a pest control service to look for less obvious signs of infestations.

Pest control services can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the infestation. Even if there are no immediate signs of problems, an expert can determine if the home has vulnerabilities that could invite unwanted pests in the future.

In conclusion, winter can be an advantageous time to buy a home with reduced competition and motivated sellers. However, don’t let these opportunities deter you from conducting thorough inspections. It’s crucial to examine everything, from heating and plumbing systems to potential costly repairs, before signing any contracts. With due diligence, you can confidently purchase a great home during the winter, even in the midst of snowy and icy conditions.

Amy McConaghy is the Digital Marketing Specialist at Reliance Home Comfort, overseeing editorial, video, and visual content creation for digital platforms. Her writing is dedicated to providing homeowners with home improvement, buying and selling tips, as well as money-saving advice. She also answers questions related to various home comfort needs.