Winter in the Poconos comes with certain things you can expect (cold, snow, ice) and certain things that nobody can predict (down trees/wires, power outages, road closures) – but there is one constant that you can bank on and that is less people, overall, milling around the mountain for anything but winter sports. This gives a bit of an advantage to home-shoppers who wait until Winter to buy because there is more likely to be less competition over the listings you are most interested in. Less buyers overall means less chance of your offer having competition and that, ultimately, leads to your offer having a better chance of acceptance by sellers. Here are a few tips for what you should be prepared for if you decide this course of action is right for you:
- Respect the Driving Conditions. If you’re an out-of-towner coming to our mountain for a day of house hunting, pay attention to the weather and any pertinent advisories regarding such. Obviously if it is snowing out you want to give yourself plenty of travel time, but also make sure you pack a “just in case” bag with some basic essentials (water, blankets, food/snacks, flashlight, radio, etc) in case an accident shuts down the highway and you find yourself sitting on an interstate-turned-parking-lot miles from home. This might sound a bit scary and, admittedly, is not the most likely situation, but it is a serious situation that many drivers found themselves in one a few occasions over the years and is a serious enough probability that preparation should not be overlooked.
- Dress For the Weather. A lot of times it is 10-15 degrees cooler in the Poconos than in NY, Philly, or most other urban/suburban areas buyers travel from and that means, among other things, that the snow is slower to melt. That fact coupled with the fact that a lot of homes in the Poconos are secondary and/or vacation homes means that you may find yourself knee-deep in snow from a driveway to a doorstep. Warm clothes, layers, and snow boots are all good options to keep in mind.
- Ask For Pictures From Different Seasons. If you only see a property in the winter, then you are only seeing it when all the vegetation is gone and the trees are bare. Ask sellers if they have any pictures of the property in Summer when all the leaves and vegetation are alive and kicking! This will give you insight into how much shade your property gets and/or how private it will be from the road and neighboring houses. In the winter time, trees that don’t have pine needles don’t provide a whole lot of privacy and privacy is a big thing for people who are looking to escape the rat race for peace and quiet. Talk to your agent about getting some more pictures to give you a fuller view of what the property looks like year-round.
Buying a home in the winter can be a great opportunity for home-shoppers because of less competition. If the listing you are interested in has been on the market since Spring, you could be in a better position to get some money off the price or some other kind of terms that are more in your favor. Sellers who list in Spring most likely will not want their house sitting on the market over the winter because they will incur the costs of maintaining that property over the winter (though they don’t always plow the driveway and shovel the deck, it is prudent and recommended by most savvy agents that they do so to prevent the possibility of damage and to make the house welcoming to buyers).
Don’t shy away from our “winter wonderland” – with these tips and some advice from your agent, you could be in for a better deal than you thought was even possible! See you around!
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