Move over, summer real estate market: An increasing number of Canadians, including first-time homebuyers, are turning to winter house hunting. Here are five reasons why the off-season may be the most magical time of the year…to buy your first home!

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1. There’s less competition

Between travel, holiday planning, end-of-year demands at work and a natural urge to cocoon at home, people are less likely to launch a house hunt in December.

This means you’re less likely to fall into a bidding war or to have competitors vying for “your” dream home. Wait too long, and your offer won’t be the only one a seller has to consider.

2. Sellers are motivated

For the same reasons that people are less likely to go house hunting in winter, homeowners are less likely to list in winter. Who wants to complicate their holidays, right? Motivated sellers do.

Winter sellers are either trying to sell a house or condo that didn’t move during the peak real estate season or they’re eager to sell their home fast – so fast that they don’t want to wait till the new year. They are more apt to negotiate the price, as well as conditions like closing costs, dates and sales terms (such as what appliances are included in the sale).

3. You’ll get VIP treatment from your REALTOR®

Although a great REALTOR® will work hard to make you feel like you’re his or her only client any time of year, the reality is that you’ll be leaving a lot more voice mails come April. Fewer clients during the December real estate lull means your REALTOR® has more time – and motivation – to focus on your home hunt.

4. All systems are go

Baby, it’s cold outside. And that provides you with a unique opportunity to check out how a home copes with winter weather. Is the basement dry? Is the furnace going strong? Are the windows draft-proof? What about the doors? Wow, how cozy is that electric fireplace?!

Seeing how the property functions under difficult winter conditions is a valuable insight that you can only get at this time of year.

5. The spring real estate market isn’t that far away

Spring is when the real estate market hits its stride, with the highest number of house hunters battling it out, often in bidding war scenarios. You’re likely to pay more for your home if you buy during peak season. So, it’s smart to get a jump on the spring market, which, according to some real estate professionals, begins in…February!

Get started house hunting now and, odds are, if you don’t close on your first home by mid-winter, you’ll hit the ground running for spring.

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