You’ve been dreaming of your own Alabama lake house for years. You’ve saved, you’ve researched, and you’re ready to buy. But now it’s getting into the holiday season, kids are in school, the weather is turning cold, and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of activity on Alabama’s lakes. Is now a good time to buy? Yes!
In my opinion, fall/winter is a great time to buy your dream lake house. First off, I tell my buyers that on lakes that fluctuate in seasonal water level, the winter months will show you exactly what you’re purchasing. There’s no lipstick on the lake house! I typically tell buyers, “This is the worst this lake house is going to look.” The water is probably drawn down so low that the seawall and boat dock are in the mud. This is a great time to get a look under the hood and see what needs work that you would have missed had these items been underwater.
Another great reason to buy in the winter is that some sellers need to move their property, and for whatever reason, missed the prime marketing months of Spring and Summer. Or some lake homes just didn’t seem to get sold during the hot market, and those sellers may also be motivated – dreading a long slow winter with fewer offers. This is an opportunity to take advantage of serious savings! I caution all my buyers to take the offer process seriously as this is an important process, and likely a sentimental property to the sellers. Think twice before pitching a lowball offer without justifications behind it as you might offend the seller, and kill the deal before it gets going. But if you’re shopping during the winter slowdown, you might notice those justifiable reasons for reducing your offer. For example, now that you can see the dock and seawall – you notice that they’re in serious need of repair. Or maybe the falling leaves are creating drainage issues in gutters you wouldn’t have noticed in the Summer.
Finally, Fall and Winter are my favorite times to sell lake properties because of the lack of competition. In a typical year I see the market start to warm up mid-February, and get hot by April – with no slowdown in sales until November. The vast majority of buyers seeking these ultra-specialized properties (which are a rare commodity anyway) are out and hunting during the warmer weather – hoping to enjoy their new purchase while school is out. Competition is fierce, prices are high, and buyers are plentiful!
By doing your homework your Lakefront Living agent has provided, you stand a great chance to get into your Alabama lake home under the radar so to speak. You can spend the winter making improvements and repairs, and you’ll be ready to wow your family and friends with the best lake life experience possible when the water is ready for naked toes!
by Clark Stewart, the Alabama Lake Guru