Spring is “house hunting” season, right? It’s when the largest number of homes hits the market, after all. 

But despite conventional wisdom, you don’t have to wait until the first daffodil blooms to start your house hunting. Here are four reasons you should start house hunting in the winter. 

1. You have time to get your finances in order.

If you’re getting ready to buy a house, your first stop should be to a mortgage lender. They can do a deep dive into your financial situation and give you a budget based on your income, debts, and expected down payment. Having a realistic budget helps you narrow down houses within your price range. Plus your lender can help you get all that hairy paperwork out of the way — which makes the whole purchase process that much easier. Also, sellers are likely to give extra consideration to your offer when you’re pre-approved. They’ll know you’re a serious buyer and that the transaction should close without a hitch.  

2. You might get a better interest rate.

Spring buying season is right around the corner. So if you’re able to get an attractive rate in the winter, you can “lock” it in and use it in the spring … even if rates rise. A rate “lock” can last up to 120 days, but check with your lender to make sure — programs may vary. 

3. You can narrow down your housing priorities.

Since winter is traditionally a slower selling time, there are fewer houses on the market. But that can be a good thing! It gives you a chance to see what you like without being overwhelmed by choices. You can look at houses at a more leisurely pace and not feel pressured to make an immediate offer. Not to mention, there are fewer buyers to compete with.

4. You can be the first one ready to buy.

When you start house hunting in the winter, you’ll be ready to pounce on the home of your dreams. You’ve got your financing lined up. You’ve zeroed in on your price. You’ve looked at enough houses to know what you want and what is a good deal. You’re miles ahead of those home shoppers who just woke up from their long winter’s nap. With all the legwork taken care of, you’re in the best possible position to get the right house at the right price. 

But before you close on your dream house, your mortgage lender will require you to get homeowners insurance. So start here with a quick, free quote from Esurance. We make the home insurance process SUPER easy — you can purchase your policy directly online and be on your way to home-ownership in two shakes. 

Home and garden | Homeowners 101


about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.