If you ask around, you will notice everyone has their opinion on when is the best time to buy a home. However, the traditional rules no longer apply. Following an unprecedented two-year period that saw a lack of homes for sale, the homes that were for sale flying off the market, and rock-bottom mortgage rates, the housing market is finally starting to cool down a bit with inventory steadily growing. Does that mean it will be more or less difficult buying a home in fall and winter this year?
Traditional home buying sense says that the spring and summer are the best times to buy a house. Nationally, May through August see the most home sales, with sales numbers and inventory dropping during the fall and winter as sellers take their homes off the market for the holidays. But we’re coming off a market that was anything but normal, and only now we are starting to see a housing market shift.
But just because most people prefer to shop for homes during nice weather doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy a house in the fall and winter. For many home buyers, buying a home in fall and winter might even be a better idea than buying in the spring or summer.
Here are some reasons why buying a home in fall and winter months might be the best time.
Does the Time of Year Actually Matter?
Seasonality tends to affect factors such as inventory (the number of homes for sale) and purchase price. During spring, inventory is plentiful, but competition among buyers may cause prices to rise. By contrast, home prices may be lower during the fall and winter, but inventory can be lower. But, thanks to rising mortgage rates, inventory is actually increasing.
The reality is, you can find your dream home during any season. Let’s take a closer look at why buying a home in fall and winter makes sense plus some other positive factors for buyers.
Buying a House in the Fall
Once the summer ends, sellers tend to get more motivated. They tend to lower their prices and provide an opportunity to get a deal. As is the case with winter, there’s also less inventory during the fall. As a result, anxiety can start to set in for sellers. This is particularly true of sellers who want to sell their home and get a tax write-off before the end of the year. This can provide you with room to negotiate when you do make an offer on a house.
There are also fewer buyers during the fall. Once fall kicks in, people tend to put home shopping on hold until the next spring. Not wanting to disrupt the education of their children, many parents will wait until the spring or summer break before resuming their property search.
If you wait until October, you may be able to get more house compared to the spring and summer. And, with less people looking to buy a house, there are less people who can swoop in and buy your perfect home before you have the chance.
Because of the seasonal decline, real estate agents can give you more attention because they have more free time to spend with you in the fall and winter months. This can also be true for all of the other third parties involved in real estate transactions like lenders, inspectors, title companies, insurance agents, closing attorneys, and moving companies.
Buying a House in the Winter
Everything about buying a house in the fall is true for buying a house in the winter. But there are some additional reasons why buying a house in winter may be the best time of all.
Winter is usually the cheapest time of year to buy a home. Sellers are often motivated, which automatically becomes an advantage for you. Many sellers suspend their listings from around Thanksgiving to the New Year because they figure buyers are limited. A seller who does list at that time usually wants to sell quickly.
Since a seller in winter is motivated to sell, they may even be more willing to negotiate things like purchase price and paying for some of your closing costs. Potentially lower purchase prices aren’t the only savings. Real estate agents also want to make sales during the slower times of year and may be more open to negotiating their commissions.
At the same time, while prices are lower during the winter, inventory is much more limited and there are fewer open houses. But, if you’re willing to keep an open mind, work with a limited selection, and be patient, winter can be an excellent time to buy your dream home.
So, if you’re looking to get the best potential deal on a new home, you should consider buying in the winter. Home buyers who close in January pay an average of 0.51 percent less than those who close during other months. That doesn’t sound like much, but keep in mind that 0.51 percent of the price of a home can add up to thousands of dollars.
Despite winter home-searching challenges, the closing process also tends to be quicker because lenders process fewer loan applications during this season. And, like in the fall, real estate agents are usually more accessible and inspectors aren’t backlogged.
Some Other Positive Factors for Buyers
When you buy in the summer, you’re seeing homes at their best, in ideal weather conditions. A downside of buying a home in the summer is that you don’t really get a chance to see how it holds up to snow, ice, and low temperatures.
When you shop for homes in the fall and winter, you’ll get to see how drafty the windows are or how cold the bedrooms get. You’ll have the chance to inspect the roof for ice dams and check the walk and driveway for icy spots. You’ll get to see how well the town clears the roads leading to your prospective home. When buying a home in fall and winter, you’ll know what to expect from in the cold weather months.
It’s much easier to hire movers in the fall and winter because they aren’t booked solid. And, because they aren’t as busy you’ll have your pick of moving companies as well as extra flexibility if you need to reschedule your move because bad weather decides to happen on your planned moving day. Not only is it easier to book movers in the winter, you might be able to negotiate a better deal, too.
To Sum Up
Buying a home during the fall and winter can be a great way to get a better deal on your dream home. With fewer buyers and limited inventory, sellers who do keep their homes on the market are more motivated to sell.
Regardless of what season you buy your dream home, at Bay Shores Real Estate we’re here to serve and guide you through the process. Bay Shores is a partnership of professionals, each dedicated to helping people find the life they love; one with more free time, less financial stress, more beauty, and less worry.
Our firm brings all of the key real estate related services discerning clients need, together under one roof. Whether it’s for your primary home, your vacation property or your B&B rental, our team of professionals is here for you. That’s what Bay Shores Real Estate is all about. So, if you’re ready to find your dream home, contact us and let’s get started!