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Moving in the winter is no fun. Hefting heavy boxes in boots and parkas, not to mention travel in snowy weather doesn’t make an already stressful process easier, but there are surprising advantages to buying a home a winter that may make it worth the effort.

Sellers Are Motivated

Nearly half of existing home sales occur in the late spring and summer months. Buyers like to see a home in its summer glory, and homeowners prefer to sell when their property looks its best and moving is a breeze.

When a choice home shows up on the winter market, the chances are higher that the seller needs to relocate quickly and with fewer buyers on the hunt, it’s more likely that a lower offer may be considered.

Homes Are More Honest

Most properties look better after a spring primping, but in some cases, it’s possible that the fresh coat of paint on the walls is covering up defects buyers would rather see. The harsh winter elements bring out the worst in both houses and landscaping, giving potential buyers the opportunity to see if the roof leaks or if heavy spring rains flow through cracks in the foundation. While these types of issues are common in most homes, they serve as a bargaining chip when they’re obvious.

The Loan Process Is Faster

April sees a rise in mortgage applications and with it comes the busy season for lenders, home appraisers, title companies and movers. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, there’s a welcomed lull and for buyers, that can translate into a 30 percent faster loan process from start to close.

There’s Less Competition For Top Properties

Home inventories are greatest in the spring and summer, but in a tight market, sellers with hot properties can play buyers against each other to get top dollar. Just a few competing bids can put the price of a buyer’s dream out of reach and use up valuable house-hunting time. While choices in winter may be limited, there’s a better chance of striking a favorable deal.

A smooth summer move may be less hassle, but give winter house-hunting a chance. Scoring a cold weather bargain on a dream home may be worth bundling up for.