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Add a home to your shopping list this winter

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Winter is often considered a relatively slow time of year when it comes to buying and selling real estate. In colder regions, trekking through snow and ice to visit open houses isn’t the way most people tend to spend their free time. Winter weather conditions can also make packing up and moving into a new home more difficult.

But for those who do choose to house-hunt during this time, even a warm-weather market can be a virtual winter wonderland of opportunity, says Orlando Regional Realtor Association Chairman of the Board Mike McGraw, McGraw Realty Services. “Winter home shopping offers advantages that can ultimately work to a buyer’s advantage, as there is less activity and therefore reduced competition in the winter. Serious buyers have more room to negotiate with motivated sellers and have a solid chance at achieving some great deals.”

Another key benefit of winter home buying is less competition for financing. Fewer buyers mean fewer people looking for loans. Lenders tend to be less busy in the winter so they can often provide more personal attention to the smaller pool of borrowers.

Colder weather can help buyers determine how well a home is insulated. A house that is drafty in cold weather — a sign it might need new windows or have leaks that will need to be sealed — will also be less efficient to cool in hot weather. While inside the house, check to see how high the thermostat is set. If it is set low and the indoor temperature is still comfortable, the house is probably well-insulated and won’t have excessively high cooling or heating bills.

“Homeownership is an investment in your future, and there has never been a better time to be a buyer,” says McGraw. “There are more reasons than ever to take advantage of slower activity during the winter season and shop for a home. Serious buyers should contact a realtor to help them start their home search today.”

—Courtesy ORRA