MACOMB, Mich. (WXYZ) — If the idea of buying a home when there’s snow or ice on the ground doesn’t appeal to you, or if you’re waiting for all the spring open houses before you get serious about house hunting, you might want to think again.
Chris Jones of Macomb is an active duty serviceman in the Air Force who’s a single dad looking to buy his first home.
“I’m out here. First showing of the day. No ‘For Sale’ sign even out here,” Jones said, as he shot some cell phone video of a recent home he visited that was not even on the market yet. His realtor set up the showing.
“This is house number, I want to say, seven this month. So, maybe this is it. Fingers crossed!” he added before going inside to take a look.
Jones started house hunting in April of 2019, but the winter months during this pandemic are not slowing him down.
I asked him during a Zoom interview if he was determined to buy a home this winter.
“Yes, actually,” he replied quickly -- indicating the low interest rates are a big motivator right now.
“I want to hurry up and get it while it’s low, before it goes back to normal. I would rather get that interest rate and get it locked in and just move from there,” Jones explained.
FIVE PERKS OF OFF-SEASON REAL ESTATE
Melinda Wilner is the Chief Operating Officer at UWM – United Wholesale Mortgage based in Pontiac. She said there are five perks to buying real estate in the off-season.
And this winter is especially hot due to the number one reason to buy right now.
1. Current low interest rates
The current low interest rates are giving home buyers a great opportunity to see some significant savings.
“To have rates for a 30-year fixed mortgage that are in the 2s is incredible,” said Wilner. “I think the low rates will probably last a little longer. Obviously, there’s no way to tell for certain.”
2. Less competition in the market
Two, there’s less competition in the market. It’s estimated that January and February account for only 6% of all existing home sales.
“Specific to home buying in the springtime -- more competition does what? It drives up housing prices further,” said Wilner.
So, while there will be more homes from which to choose in the warmer months, more competition means many homes will cost more then.
3. Supply exceeds demand
The third reason now is a good time to buy is supply exceeds demand during the winter months.
This typically results in home prices being lower than they are during the peak in spring and summer.
4. Faster closing times
A fourth perk is faster closing times. That’s because sellers are often more motivated; many of them may be having to move due to life circumstances.
“Especially here in Michigan – a seller who is willing to put up with people trudging through their house in the winter and then throw in COVID, they’re a very motivated seller,” Wilner said.
5. More help for buyers
And five – more help for buyers – namely more real estate agents and movers who are available – which can work to your advantage.
But one point Chris Jones knows well is that it is still a seller’s market in metro Detroit -- even in the wintertime.
“There was a house that we looked at. It came on the market I want to say it was like a Monday it came on the market. By Thursday, they already had, like, 30 offers,” he recalled.
That experience just happened in early December of 2020.
We hope Chris Jones and his 2-year-old son find their perfect home very soon.
If you’re thinking of buying a house right now, Wilner said the first step is to get with an independent mortgage broker and get pre-approved. That way you know how much of a loan you can get – or how much house you can afford.
Once you’re pre-approved, you can reach out to a realtor and say, "Let’s do this!"
Happy house hunting!