The benefits of buying a home in the winter


    STATEWIDE (WGME) -- This time of year, a lot of people are thinking about buying Christmas gifts, but some experts say the holiday season is a good time to buy a house.

    "I think there's lots of different times that are good to buy, "says real estate agent Erin Oldham, "But I actually really enjoy buying during the winter."

    It's often thought of as the quiet time of year for house-hunting, but Oldham says the snow and chilly temperatures can be a sign of good things to come.

    "It's a little slower so you have more time to make decisions," Oldham says, "In the spring, sometimes you have to make a decision on a house in two hours to decide whether you want to put in that offer, but now you have a couple days, a week, a couple weeks to make good decisions."

    Oldham says those good decisions could even lead to paying less for your home, as some prices drop and some sellers are more motivated.

    "And sometimes even get 5 or $10,000 off the list price which is fun," says Oldham.

    Mary Miller is the Director of Mortgage Lending at Androscoggin Bank.

    "I think I would say that there really used to be seasons in real estate lending and that's really trailed off," Miller says.

    However, Miller adds that they do take advantage of slower times when possible.

    "We try to make it less work, with the fewer loans in the pipeline, you get a lot more specialized attention," says Miller, "personalized service, we can make things go faster for you."

    Mortgage Market Leader at Androscoggin Bank Scott Sarapas says there could be benefits for sellers to get their home off the market before the new year, even if the offer is under the asking price.

    "If they're looking ahead to heating it for another month and paying the property taxes and renewing the homeowners' insurance and all that sort of stuff, it frequently can end up being an even proposition," says Sarapas, "They can take this lower amount now and ultimately end up in the same position from a cash flow perspective, as they would have if they held on and waited for it."

    Oldham says every situation is different, but this season shouldn't keep anyone from finding his or her perfect home.

    "I sold and bought in January two of my houses," Oldham says, "And did really well on the selling and I felt like I got a good deal because it was in January as well."

    Sarapas adds that buyers with a new home before January can write off some expenses associated with the purchase on their 2018 taxes.

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