Winter Occupancy

4 Replies

Hello,

I just refinanced in November so this upcoming November I will be able to purchase a property.  I am looking at getting into a duplex in the Milwaukee area.  I was curious how difficult it is to find tenants in December or January because of the weather etc.? Is it worth it to even purchase then or should I just wait until Spring?  I'm just afraid that I will get stuck in that cycle every year then.

Thank you!

Hello Tim

My name is Sky Mikesell i am based in Charlotte NC and our winters here are nothing compared to wisconsin ... however my experience is the type of properties i buy tend to attract families and families generally arent moving during the holiday months.   That being said i have rented plenty of properties in the months of december bc i didnt have a choice.   When doing so i would be the new tenants on a short term lease (6 months) so their lease was ending during a time of year i would not struggle to lease the property. I always assured them i would be happy to resign their lease in june/july for an additional 12 months but could not go over 6 months at this time... This always worked beautifully bc it was rare anyone was ready to leave just 6 months in... which means i got another 12 out of them... and i was on a annual renewal cycle i was comfortable with. 

good luck and take care

Sky Mikesell

No company avatar mediumSky Mikesell, Portfolio Development | [email protected] | 7046223326

Up here in the frozen north there is very little movement in the winter - few properties for sale or rent, few people moving.  It can be a good time to pick up deals from motivated sellers, and if you get a good enough deal perhaps it's worth it to wait out a couple of months of vacancy.  You could also get one under contract and ask for a long closing.

In terms of tenants, yes I do find that it's harder to get tenants in the winter months.  No one wants to move during the holiday season or when the wind chill is -40.  However, we did have two unexpected vacancies in November and managed to fill them with tenants on a 6-month and 18-month lease.  It works for them too, if they're looking to buy or move when the lease is up they will have more to choose from in the summer.

And one final thing - snow covers a multitude of sins.  If you're inspecting properties, it's hard to determine the condition of the roof and impossible to see what the landscaping is like.  I read a story on BP about someone buying a house in the winter only to discover that there was a (very much unwanted) pool in the backyard!

Originally posted by @Jennifer Pereira :

...

And one final thing - snow covers a multitude of sins.  If you're inspecting properties, it's hard to determine the condition of the roof and impossible to see what the landscaping is like.  I read a story on BP about someone buying a house in the winter only to discover that there was a (very much unwanted) pool in the backyard!

 I'll add one caveat to the warning of a cachette under the snow.   Winter is a very good time to observe the exterior side of the building envelope:  

  • Are their ice dams or large icicles adorning the eaves?  {poor/no ventilation and/or insulation in the attic}
  • Are any of the windows frosted or cloudy?  {single glaze windows or bad thermo-panes}
  • Is there a gap between the snow and the side of the building {poor insulation levels in the basement and/or above ground walls, a draughty sill plate, etc}

As you roll towards spring {rumour is - it is on its way}, you can also look for movement in the foundation, stairs, decks, etc.

I will case a building months (or years) before ever making an offer to get to know it.  My favourite time to walk a property is a very rainy and windy day in early spring while the ground is still frozen.  This will give you a front row seat to all sorts of drainage, air sealing and insulation issues.

Medium greenapartmenthires 1024x1024Roy N., Louer Louer Ltd. | 1.506.471.4126

Wow, this is some great info.  Thanks everyone.

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